President calls for ‘profound rethink’ of international politics

Higgins one of 6,000 world leaders to attend World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey

President Michael D Higgins has called for a profound and integrated rethink of international politics.

Addressing the World Humanitarian Summit on Monday morning, Mr Higgins said it was time for political leaders to move beyond words and initiate action.

“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.”

Mr Higgins is one of 6,000 political leaders to gather in Turkey for the summit, which is aiming to address global humanitarian crises.


The two-day event is the first of its kind hoping to improve how aid is given and how the world reacts to crises.

The President spoke at a breakfast meeting with outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.

He said the UN must move beyond competing for narrow interests and act decisively against global hunger and poverty.

Mr Higgins said: “To achieve the changes which the Secretary General calls forth requires much more than any re-statement of aspirations.

“It requires a profound and integrated rethink 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.”

Mr Higgins said this was an opportunity to demonstrate their relevance and insisted this was a “moment of truth, a moral test”.

He said: “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.”

Minister for State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid Joe McHugh is also in attendance.

Representatives from Oxfam, Concern and Trócaire are also due to speak at the summit.

Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire’s Executive Director, said the event was much needed.

However he said half the world’s governments have declined the invitation insisting this highlighted the lack of political will to deal with the crises.