100 opinion-makers and 30,000 young citizens from 30 countries
join forces and share ideas to prepare the Rio+20 conference.
We addressed various topics in the framework of our study among the world youth and the panel of 100 personalities. Here are some examples of questions we discussed:
The biosphere is now threatened by often mildly discernible phenomena with a global range and stretched over several centuries (as for climate change, for example). Such phenomena crystallize new inequalities: they affect more strongly populations which are already vulnerable, when only 7% of the world’s population is responsible for 50% of total CO2 emissions.
Could this situation provide the opportunity to rethink the mechanisms of solidarity between people and also between mankind and its environment?
Can the story of humanity and the story of nature still be thought of separately? Or must man change his relation with the living world?
How to extend the concept of solidarity in order to reconcile our lifestyle with the preservation of ecosystem services and the fight against poverty?
Some interview excerpts linked to this topic:
- Every day men and women make decisions that affect our environment, families, economy, the fate of our lives and our community. Working to reduce poverty, to secure equal rights and opportunities between men and women and to find a development model that protects our environment is not only the work of men. It’s the work of all of us. The world needs all the strength, all the intelligence, and the voices of all of us. Women and girls cannot be outside this global challenge. To put our world into greater balance, women need to be on equal terms with men. We are working for this.
Michelle Bachelet (Chile), United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women and Former President of the Republic of Chile.
- The environment is a cause that completely transcends political ideology, and that is truly beyond left and right. It’s a health issue, it’s a moral issue, it’s our deepest obligation to our children.
Arianna Huffington (USA), Co-Founder of The Huffington Post, President and Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group
- In an era when a country’s competitiveness depends on its cities’ competitiveness, the Koreans search for solutions in their traditional philosophy of living together in harmony. This lifestyle is not limited to human beings, but embraces all components of the world, whether animate or inanimate. When we plan a city, construct buildings, and create spaces in a spirit of co-prosperity, we should not only make microscopic judgments, but put into consideration the harmony of today and possible circumstantial changes of tomorrow both in planning and practice. […] It is also very important to restore the original equilibria of things, which have been disturbed due to development.
Wan-su Park (South Korea), Mayor of Changwon, the 8th most populous city in South Korea, and member of the UCLG World Council (United Cities and Local Governments).
- To deal properly with the challenges related to sustainable development, we must take into account as many perceptions and experiences as possible. Everywhere in the world, local and indigenous communities have a role to play, and their knowledge must be mobilized and incorporated when designing new solutions to progress towards more sustainability. As growing unplanned urbanization and pollution increase people’s vulnerabilities, environmental health and sanitation should be considered first priorities in the name of collective interest, in cities but also in rural areas.
Sukanta Sen (Bangladesh), Executive Director of the Bangladesh Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, an NGO focused on empowering local and indigenous communities.