India is a lively and innovative country: Christine Beerli
International Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Christine Beerli, the vice president of the ICRC, was in India 4–7 December 2017 to attend the International Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), co-hosted by the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) and the ICRC. The conference formed part of sustained efforts towards the implementation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). It brought together over 50 government representatives from 22 countries across the wider Asia, Gulf and East Africa regions. Experts from a number of international and regional organisations were also part of the international conference to discuss weapons regulated under the CCW and those currently on the CCW agenda.
The Vice President's inaugural speech at the CCW highlighted India's role in supporting countries facing humanitarian challenges and its status as one of the largest troop contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping operations and helping set global norms. Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, General V. K. Singh, stated that the conference would create an environment to ensure suffering can be reduced by implementing the IHL as laid down by the international community. Reinforcing the importance of these efforts, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Ruchi Ghanashyam, stated that the CCW is a dynamic instrument that has continued to be relevant and India's extended assistance to international demining efforts and the special importance given to protocol 5 on explosive remnants of war reaffirms the country's commitment.
Reinforcing the partnership with Indian Red Cross Society
The ICRC in India works closely with the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS). Beerli took the opportunity to call on the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J. P. Nadda, who is also the chairperson of the IRCS to congratulate him for his strong leadership under which the ICRC-IRCS partnership continues to grow. She congratulated Manish Choudhary, joint secretary, IRCS, for the strategic development plan 2030 and the National Society's desire to play an active leadership role globally. Underlining the existing collaboration, she stated that the ICRC was keen to grow and strengthen the relationship and support IRCS in first aid, youth, livelihood activities and share expertise in newer areas such as physical rehabilitation, social inclusion, communication, IHL, gender diversity, migration and innovation.
Interaction with Enable Makeathon teams
Christine Beerli travelled to Bengaluru to meet and interact with teams at the Enable Makeathon co-creation camp. She delivered the keynote address at a panel discussion organised by the ICRC on 'Humanitarian Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Inclusivity'. The panellists included some of the most active voices from the disability sector in India:
- V. Shakthi, founder and owner of The Quill
- Deepa Narasimhan, head of diversity and inclusion, Dell EMC
- Mohan Sundaram, CEO and founding director of ARTILAB Foundation
- Mahantesh G. K., founder managing trustee at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled
Explaining what innovation means to the ICRC, Beerli stated that the core principles included listening to needs and involving persons with disabilities while co-creating solutions for them. Referring to the culture of frugal innovation in India, she said that India's enabling environment lend itself perfectly for creating new solutions for the rest of the world.