President Michael D Higgins has said a “profound” rethink of international politics is needed to tackle poverty, hunger, climate change, and conflict around the world.

Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit, organised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President Higgins said it was time for political leaders around the world to move beyond talking about aspirations and undertake real action.

“To achieve the changes which the Secretary General calls forth requires much more than any re-statement of aspirations,” he said.

“It requires a profound and integrated re-think of international politics, and of our theory and practice of economics, development and trade; it requires a reform of the representational structures of the world’s peoples; and indeed it demands little less, I suggest, than a new paradigm of thought and action, grounded in a reconciliation between ethics, economics, ecology and cultural diversity.”

President Higgins was speaking at the gathering of some 6,000 world leaders and heads of state at the summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

It was organised as part of an effort by Ban Ki-Moon to reform the global emergency aid system and reduce the gap between the needs of victims of disasters and conflict on the one hand and available funding for support programmes on the other.

President Higgins calls for profound rethink of politics to tackle global issues

The summit comes at a time when more than 60 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their home countries and the economic cost of violent conflict has reached an estimated $14 trillion — 13% of the global economy.

President Higgins said concrete action was needed to help these people, and pointed out that “deep political and intellectual failures” of world leaders needed to be acknowledged.

“For too long, empty pledges and fine words have died in our mouths — now is the time to turn promises into action for this generation.

“So, let us honour those who have worked so hard to prevent, reduce and respond to conflicts, who have helped pick up the pieces in a broken world. But let us not shrink from the reality of the deep political and intellectual failures, with which we must deal, from which we must depart,” he said.

President Higgins said described the current challenge facing the world as a “moral test”.

“Let us then not seek evasions. Let us strive to realise the great promise of security, prosperity and human flourishing that can flow from a comprehensive and positive shared global solution to the great challenges and the great opportunities of our times.”


FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner