President Michael D Higgins has called on world leaders to create a United Nations that helps people who are crying out to be saved from poverty, hunger, conflict, displacement and climate change.
In an address to the World Humanitarian Summit, organised by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, the President said it was time for political leaders to move beyond words and initiate 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 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.”
President Higgins is among 6,000 world leaders and heads of state at the summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
It was organised as part of efforts by the UN leader to see how and why humanitarian help is falling short while 125 million people suffer around the world because of war and natural disaster.
President Higgins said: “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.
“This is our opportunity to restore hope, to demonstrate the relevance of our multilateral system, our capacity and our courage. This is for us a moment of truth, 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.”