Two weeks after the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, French President François Hollande used his address at the World Economic Forum to call on countries and corporations to work together in the fight against terrorism.
“It’s not just France that is affected; it is freedom, it is democracy, it is the ability to live together, it is the very foundation of our societies which find themselves under attack,” Hollande told Davos external linkdelegates. “All countries, wherever they are in the world, are vulnerable to terrorism. Every country needs to prepare.”
“This needs to be a global response shared between states and business, particularly the largest corporations,” he added.
Citing France’s military intervention in Mali, Hollande cautioned against letting conflict zones spiral out of control, using Lebanon and Syria as examples of hotspots that have attracted terrorist groups. “France will be on the frontline when it has to be. France cannot do everything, it cannot go alone. But where we can, we will lead by example,” the French president said.
Europe should tighten border controls and make better efforts to identify and track suspected terrorists, particularly by following internet traffic. Hollande called on large digital corporations to help identify and block dangerous websites.
And he urged the financial community to better control financial flows to crack down on the illicit sources of funding for terrorists.
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo magazine attack that saw 12 people shot and killed, a policewoman was also shot dead and four more people were slain in a Jewish supermarket as France experienced three days of terror.
On Wednesday, France announced new measuresexternal link to boost its security infrastructure and combat terrorism. Security forces would be boosted by 2,500 in the next three years backed by €425 million (CHF420 million) in extra funding. Surveillance would be increased, including electronic eavesdropping.
“I believe that this investment is one that France has to make for itself, for Europe and for the world,” Hollande said. “We cannot claim to be a great nation if we are not capable of giving the world what it expects.
WEF had previously pledged to dedicate Friday to the fight against terrorism with United States Secretary of State John Kerryexternal link also addressing the same theme, calling terrorist violence “criminal anarchy, nihilism”.
“There are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, grievance, politics, economic disadvantage or personal ambition that will ever justify the murder of children, the kidnapping and rape of young girls or the slaughter of unarmed civilians,” Kerry told Davos.
“[These actions] must be opposed. With every fibre of our being they have to be stopped.”
But some representatives of civil society have been urging Davos delegates to also think about the root causes of some extremism: poverty, inequality and exclusion.
“What happened in Paris was all about marginalisation and social exclusion, but our knee-jerk tendency is to talk about combatting terrorism,” Lesley-Anne Knight, chief executive of the humanitarian NGO The Eldersexternal link, told swissinfo.ch in an interview last week. “This is xenophobia, nationalistic thinking and exclusion that will not take us forward very well.”
Hollande also used the Davos stage to demand action against climate change, which he called “the major challenge of the 21st century”. Paris will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year in an effort to bring a global resolution to cutting carbon emissions.
“Paris needs to resolve in a binding global agreement that will map out an effective fight against climate change,” he said. “The time is past when human kind thought it could selfishly draw on inexhaustible resources. We know now that the world is not a commodity, it’s not a source of revenue. It’s our heritage.”
Hollande said that a Green Climate Fund, that currently has €10 billion in its coffers to help developing countries meet climate change objectives, would need to find at least another €90 billion by the end of June to be truly effective.