Colloquium on "Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Harnessing Action for the 21st Century" - 24 March 2002, New York

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen

- Much has been said today about sustainable development. We have enjoyed very fruitful discussions, and a very full day.

- In fact we have been discussing sustainable development for many years now. Some progress has been made, but we all agree that the progress has been far too limited.

- But recently I notice a change in attitude, which I hope will bring a change in pace and action.

- The WTO meeting in Seattle, opened the world's eyes for the first time to the force of civil society. It was not a pleasant eye-opener, but it did persuade many, of the need to create a better understanding of the issues, and the need to include all stakeholders in discussions.

- The World Social Forum in Porto Alegre was, I think, THE milestone marking the change in attitude. With the theme, " Another World is Possible, This is the Only Planet we Have", it gave new impetus and focus to the struggle for sustainable development.

- The meeting challenged those in power to recognize that in spite of the end of the "cold war", the world is still at war. It is a war, which disregards the welfare of humanity, favoring instead the search of profits, unfettered exploitation of natural and human resources, and the use of technology to accumulate wealth.

- The meeting recognized that dialogue between all partners is necessary in order to make globalization work for all. It is not a question of "globalization" or "no globalization", it is a matter of reinstating the human element into the equation.

- Collective action was called for, to guarantee that, the commitments of Johannesburg represent an agenda of ALL people and not only governments.

- I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the foresight and wisdom of Dr Pachauri, and the TERI organization, among others, for playing a key role in prompting and supporting this change of direction

- The world needs organizations such as TERI to act as moderator, and help bridge the gap between the two sides in the debate on globalization. The UN system can try to help, but others have a vital role to play.

- Action is needed to improve the terms of trade for developing countries. To build capacity, improve skills and give people the tools to support sustainable development.

- I strongly endorse the words of George Soros :

- "We need a global society - and not just a global economy - we need to address wealth disparities and inequalities".

- I am optimistic that we can create this global society. I see no reason to be resigned to the unsustainable situation of today.

- Using the knowledge of our ancestors, the values of world religions and cultures, the energy of the youth, and our aspirations for our children, we can find a solution

- We can give globalization a human face. It can be a positive force for all.

- This is not a new idea. It is an old one. Globalization in the Third Century A.D., in the form of the Silk Road was a positive force. It contributed to the development of knowledge, as well as the trade and exchange of goods. Buddhism, Islam, technology and art, traveled the road, and enriched many. The use of the road declined with the rise of tribal politics between the peoples along the road - self-interest becoming more important than mutual benefit.

- Let us not see the globalization of today go into rapid decline in the war for wealth which ignores the greater needs of humanity - enlightened self-interest should replace self-interest - trade in goods, as well as assisting development, can bring trade in ideas and more tolerance to our world

- Dialogue is crucial to a common understanding of globalization - a framework must be created to facilitate the much needed dialogue - TERI perhaps, could play a role as moderator

- The Summit in Johannesburg has to be the foundation, and first building block of lasting, effective global partnerships - partnerships demonstrating solidarity with the poor - partnerships committed to concrete action for change - change which will build a solid foundation, and bridges, in the interest of the generations to come


 

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