Simonetta Sommaruga: Leading Switzerland through times of COVID-19

Simonetta Sommaruga (center) with Tatiana Valovaya (left), Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, and Michelle Bachelet (right), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Photo: Mark Henley)

born in Zog. Professional pianist. He developed his career in the public sector, to include economics, environment, urban planning, health, justice, police, transportation, energy and communications. Traditionally, Federation President He is in charge of acting Swiss abroad. This position – which lasts for only one year – is characterized by the specificity of requiring the official to continue in the previous position. In this case, as Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications. This means two appointments at the same time and has huge ramifications.

This is my second chance Simonetta Sumaruga To head Confederation. Unlike in 2015, this time – like other presidents – he has had to face and tackle extraordinary and unprecedented challenges. The federation needed it mainly in the country to maintain national government unity and manage the crisis, especially when medical supplies were blocked or when trains could no longer cross the border.

At the same time, she had to lead and mediate conflicts when there were internal differences, play an active role in communication when informing the public of urgent measures, and take to the streets to better understand the population thermometer: patients in hospitals, elderly people in their homes, CEOs of different companies. “Although there is little time to prepare and intense pressure to make decisions, the boss must also take responsibility when the going gets tough.To comment.

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According to your experience, Swiss There are two big challenges ahead. The first is Carbon removalHe sees a great opportunity for the country, because if a clear path is defined – now – many jobs will be created in new technologies, with jobs suitable for the future and export opportunities. On the other hand, he affirms, “We have to move away from oil, coal and gas and get our energy from clean sources. If we do nothing, our glaciers will continue to melt, islands will drown elsewhere, fires and floods will devastate entire regions, and more people will live in poverty and misery. This is the only way to stop warming“.

The second big challenge relates to Digital transformationWho gave the epidemic a big boost to him. Yet – and like any shift – it has risks. Notes thatWe have to make sure that this transformation does not divide our society into those who are pursuing it and those who are left behind. We must rethink and redesign our approach to educationOn the other hand, digitization imposes new and greater requirements on data protection, which confirms the need to protect and defend the basic rights of citizens.

In 2020, he met twice with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, To share his concern about the impact of the pandemic, as many media professionals face restrictions in their work, adding:Some countries have used the pandemic to silence critical voices and opposition figures. We have to fight this, and we can only do that by making it a public issue and giving a voice to the media.“.

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In addressing human rights and their opinions and opinions Michelle Bachelet They led us to discuss the role of women in leadership positions. Of the 193 countries, only 10 are governed by women. Although they are in the majority in the population, they are in the minority in politics and at the executive levels of companies. He describes that “The women rising to the top often had to endure a lot, but were not intimidated or stopped. A certain independence helps you find allies and put others on your side“.

Somaruga She considers strength as the least motivating woman to move forward. It focuses on women who know how to listen, who know how to read the problems of society, and who tend to look beyondHere and nowAnd they are ready to work for the benefit of future generations. And he concludes that because of all of the above,Women are especially aware of environmental and climate problems“.

(The interview was originally published in United Nations today) .-

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