Geneva: capital of solutions?

(Credit: Patrick Chappatte for Geneva Solutions, 2022)

Geneva is not the capital of Switzerland as some foreigners still believe – but it’s the capital of many issues of global importance: human rights, humanitarian action, health, disarmament, migration, climate, international trade and many others.

What does this tell us? That Geneva is probably the only city in the world where up to 50,000 people are dedicated to making a better world – in other words, the capital of solutions.

Does it work? Yes and no. Some organisations, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, have very clear mandates and achieve an outstanding result. Others juggle issues that are too big for them to handle alone  – think about the global migration crisis or the efforts of reviving multilateralism in trade.

Still, this city attracts amazing people. More and more young and talented professionals want to settle in Geneva. Some of them are inspired by great figures like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the head of the World Trade Organization, as they were before by Kofi Annan, former UN chief and a great friend of Geneva.

Solutions should really only refer to ideas that have been tried and proven to work. International Geneva is great at formulating and launching ideas – but how many turn into veritable, viable solutions? This is something that is difficult to track and that we at Geneva Solutions want to investigate.

Solutions should only refer to ideas that have been proven to work 

Our media is two years old this month. It was launched in 2020 after successfully bidding for a tender organised by the Swiss Confederation, the Canton and the city of Geneva. Of course, it’s a challenge. A small team is working every day to follow our motto, what happens, what works. We’re sending daily newsletters and publishing dozens of articles every month on our website, working closely with our partner Le Temps on projects including Ukraine Stories, which yielded hundreds of articles by 35 Ukrainian journalists and more than 12 Russians.

In this special edition, we try to hold up a mirror to International Geneva and examine what it should look like five, 10, 20 year¨ from now, to better identify what should be the solutions of tomorrow as global challenges become more and more complex. We learnt from the pandemic that we need to be better prepared – so should Geneva. Ready?

This article was published as part of a special 2nd anniversary print edition of Geneva Solutions, published in collaboration with Le Temps.