Press releases

Human rights are at the heart of our future

Geneva is the global centre for the advancement of human rights / World Future Council opens new liaison office on UN Human Rights Day

Geneva, 10 December: Geneva is the world’s focal point for the protection, promotion and fulfillment of human rights, hosting the UN Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, due to policy-making that has so far paid little regard to long-term economic, environmental and social consequences, many people around the world still see their most fundamental rights violated. In order to counter such short-sighted policy-making, the World Future Council, a foundation promoting policies for a healthy and equitable planet, has decided to cooperate even more closely with the United Nations and to open a new liaison office in Geneva to coincide with UN Human Rights Day.

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award, says: “The World Future Council’s policy research has shown that with rights-based policies in place, municipal, regional and national governments can change the lives of millions of citizens. On the right to food, for example, we found that the food security policy programme of the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte has decreased child mortality by 60 percent within a decade, although costing only two percent of the city’s annual budget. Should such a successful policy not be adopted by cities all around the world? Human rights must be at the heart of our policies as they shape the world we hand over to our children.”

One of the key work areas the Geneva team will concentrate on is promoting policies that assist the “world’s largest minority”, persons with disabilities. Having joined forces with the Zero Project, launched by the Essl Foundation in 2010, the Council has already undertaken extensive policy research in this area. As a result, innovative policies implementing the rights of persons with disabilities were presented to 250 stakeholders from all around the world at the first Zero Project Conference in Vienna in January 2012. “The new office will significantly contribute to raising further awareness among international decision-makers about the situation of persons with disabilities all around the world and to drive change,” says Martin Essl, Founder of the Essl Foundation and the Zero Project, who is also an Advisor of the World Future Council.

“It is now the time to act and to firmly advance laws and policies that fully respect the dignity and rights of all people, foremost among them children, indigenous people and those with disabilities. For the benefit of our common future we look forward to intensifying our cooperation with the UN and other international organizations”, says Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council.

“The World Future Council is all about closing the gap between the obligations enshrined in international human rights conventions and the actual implementation at the national level,” says Ingrid Heindorf, Coordinator of the Geneva Liaison Office. “Geneva is certainly the ideal place to extend our work and promote exemplary rights-based policies tackling the major challenges of our time.” Currently the World Future Council has staff working from Hamburg, London and Johannesburg.

World Future Council
The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.

Media Contacts

Ingrid Heindorf, World Future Council
27, Chemin des Crêts de Pregny
1218 Geneva

Phone: +41 79 532 81 27
Email: ingrid.heindorf(at)

Download the PDF.

Support our work!

Stay in touch!

 Subscribe to our newsletter

Learn more!