Bern, 11.11.2013 – New Delhi (Indien), 11.11.2013 – Rede von Bundesrat Didier Burkhalter bei der ASEM (Dialog Europa-Asien) an der Plenary Session II – Es gilt das gesprochene Wort
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies,
Three minutes – three topics, all crucial for our common security: Water, counter terrorism and disaster risk reduction.
1. Water must unite, not divide peoples
First: Water. The first ASEM Sustainable Development Seminar in Budapest defined it recently as a key priority. This is welcome: together we should focus more on water issues. Because they are related to all major challenges of today: food, health, energy, climate, transportation, poverty reduction, security.
Joint water management can be an important confidence-building measure. Switzerland, the water tower of Europe, can share its experience gained with the Rhine river basin: once a very disputed region, it is now one of the most peaceful and prosperous on Earth.
We should all commit to the following:
At the regional level we should all push for cooperative water management mechanisms within and between countries. And we should give access to drinking water a particular priority, to make this human right become a reality. Water, the basis of life, must be an essential element in the human security agenda. Water should unite people, not divide them. It should be a topic for cooperation not for conflict. It should lead us to peace, not to war.
At the global level – in the United Nations – we should work together for a sustainable development goal dedicated to water after 2015. We invite all countries and organizations to join the common platform we have launched to strengthen this commitment. You are welcome if you want to join.
2. Counter terrorism needs a comprehensive approach
Now my second topic: Counter terrorism.
Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to the fight against terrorism. But in this fight we also reaffirm the necessity to respect the fundamental rights of the human being – and among them the right that every citizen has to have his own privacy respected.
Today I would like to highlight two points:
1) Countering the Financing of Terrorism has become a priority in many regions. One means of terrorist financing is kidnapping for ransom. Switzerland pursues a strict policy of paying no ransom.
We have to improve our coordination to ensure that hostages are released safely and unharmed. It is essential to pool resources and exert influence where special relations allow it.
As Chair of the OSCE in 2014, Switzerland will organize a Conference in Interlaken which will also include discussions on these issues.
2) SwitzerIand also welcomes the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, a public-private partnership to fund local efforts to counter violent extremism.
I am glad to announce that preparations to establish this Fund are well underway. Switzerland is ready, willing and committed to host the Global Fund in Geneva.
3. Disaster Risk Reduction: a better cooperation for a more efficient action
And finally my third point: Disaster risk reduction
Switzerland wants to express its support and solidarity with the Philippines who suffer of the devastating consequences of the Typhoon. This highlights, in a tragic way, the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction policies.
I am very pleased to confirm, that we will cohost with the Philippines the ASEM conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and climate change adaptation planned for 2014 in Manila.
Switzerland also makes better cooperation between organizations in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction a priority of its chairmanship of the OSCE next year. We will organize a conference in Prague in order to take concrete steps to that end.