Switzerland could do more to fund the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) according to its director general, Yves Daccord.
He said he valued highly the CHF150 million ($151 million) annual contribution by the Swiss government, but the country not only receives an additional CHF100 million from taxes and medication bought by the ICRCexternal link.
“This doesn’t even take into account the benefit from our good reputation,” he told the French-language Le Temps newspaper.
He acknowledged that the government funds have remained stable and that Switzerland has been “doing a superb job”, also granting the Geneva-based ICRC its full independence.
“But in my opinion, this is not enough,” Daccord is quoted as saying.
He pointed out that Germany – the ICRC’s fourth biggest contributor – quadrupled its financial support in the past few years.
Ties with the United States, one of the main donor countries, have been strained for more than 15 years. Daccord said it is a complex relationship with various partners, not only with the government of President Trump.
Daccord rejected criticism about the membership of ICRC President Peter Maurer of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum organisation.
He said he was aware of the controversy among some staff members, but the ICRC assembly had approved the presidential mandate.
“Peter Maurer and I believe it is better to join the WEF to be able to raise humanitarian issues. Otherwise there’s a risk of being sidelined in discussions,” Daccord said.
Founded in 1863, the three-time winner of the Nobel Peace Prize ICRC is financed by voluntary contributions form states which signed the Geneva Conventions, national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, supranational organisations as well as public and private sources.
In an appeal last November, the humanitarian organisation called on donors for more than CHF2 billion for 2018 to fund its field operations, an increase of nearly 12% on the previous year.