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Stockholm Environment Institute's
Global Dialogue
A Forum on Our Sustainable Future
19-21 June, 2000
Expo 2000, Hannover, Germany

Global Dialogue

Coverage of Tuesday, 20 June
Coverage of Wednesday, 21 June
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The Global Dialogue, Natural resources: The Sustainability Challenge, held from 19-21 June, 2000, is the first of a series of ten Global Dialogues organized by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in conjunction with the Hanover Expo 2000. Over 60 leading institutions from different countries are involved in the planning and realization of the Global Dialogue series. The Dialogue series brings together academics, political and business decision-makers and representatives from NGOs and international organizations. The objectives of the Dialogue are to develop new forms of participation and dialogue, including in the areas of health, environment and labour. Following the Dialogue series, a programme for global partnership will be set up to reach the broader public and reunite it with prominent personalities from international public life.

The Global Dialogue on Natural Resources and Sustainability endeavors to address, inter alia: future resource use at the global, regional and local levels; resource distribution; and protection of resources that are either non-renewable or gradually renewable. Linkages will be made between the Global Dialogue and on-going natural resources related initiatives, including international conventions, regional agreements and local initiatives. Specifically, the Dialogue discusses best practices and options to improve use, distribution and conservation of natural resources in line with sustainability, technological efficiency and innovation to meet increasing demands on renewable natural resources. Furthermore, it will help define the agenda for the Earth Summit 2002 and tackle sustainable production and consumption patterns of governments, business and the public.  


In an opening statement, Chair Simon Upton, OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development, welcomed participants and called for a multi-way dialogue exchange. Noting the sustainable development debate is bedeviled by statistics of doom and smooth statements, he stressed making use of the Global Dialogue for communicating with people and allowing them to internalize sustainability.  

Listen to the RealAudio Coverage.

Simon Upton, OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development

Speaking on environment, conflict and sustainable peace, Alexander Carius, Director, Ecologic Centre for International and European Environmental Research, highlighted a mining conflict where environment degradation triggered an unstable social system. He noted the institutional context and the relationship between violence, population pressure and environmental impacts and advocated coherent integration of poverty eradication, sustainable resource management, democratization and human security and, inter alia, fostering environmental cooperation. He underscored the success of environment policy in developing sophisticated management tools and agreements but the failure of policy integration at both national and international levels.

Alexander Carius, Director, Ecologic Centre for International and European Environmental Research

Claude Fussler, Director of Stakeholder Relations, WBCSD and SEI Board Member, gave an introduction on the challenge of creating eco-efficient markets. He explored the question of market suitability and accessibility in conjunction with  long-term environmental security. An important step in achieving this goal, he suggested, would be the availability of affordable goods to subsistence markets.

Claude Fussler, Director of Stakeholder Relations

Tariq Banuri, SEI Senior Research Director Boston, spoke about sustainability and climate change scenarios. He reflected on the historical context of globalization and its two current trends: increasing global interdependence and fragmentation of equality.  He suggested that sustainable development induces intergenerational inequities and stressed criteria for sustainability transition, including justice and fairness, equity, poverty eradication, peace, security and governance.

Listen to the RealAudio Coverage.

Tariq Banuri, SEI Senior Research Director, Boston

Terri L. Willard, Internet Communications Officer, IISD, drew attention to the issue of knowledge management and its possible impacts on sustainability. She said that while knowledge management relies increasingly on electronic means, direct and personal communications are still valuable technologies. She identified explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge, encouraged diversity of and communication between knowledge systems, and stressed the important role of intermediaries.

Terri L. Willard, Internet Communications Officer, IISD


In an afternoon plenary session, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf, of Sweden, thanked the SEI and collaborators for organizing the first Global Dialogue on Natural Resources. He stressed the planet is still heading in the wrong direction despite progress made since Stockholm, 1972. He stated, at the core of sustainable development, there is a need to show willingness for participation, new respect for nature and a common understanding, and emphasized it is time for developing new structures and partnerships, involving industry and civil society. He emphasized dialogue as communication, networks and knowledge and hoped that new ideas would be provoked contributing to the realization of a sustainable future.
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Televised Panel discussion

Alicia Bárcena, Head of Environment and Human Settlements (ECLAC)

Alicia Bárcena, Head of Environment and Human Settlements (ECLAC), said that the market could not provide sufficient solutions to environmental and development problems. She said certain values, which the market does not recognize, need to be taken into account and conserved by other institutions. She cautioned against simplifying the perception of the various sectors and pointed out the variety of representatives and actors within the private sector, governments and the NGO community. She stressed connecting initiatives at the local level, closing the digital divide and influencing economic decision makers.   

Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment

Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment, pointed out the need for education and development and strengthening of science for environment and development. She said that the current model of economic development is inherently toxic and that it takes investment and discipline to reverse the trend of resource degradation. She also called for quicker solutions and stressed the lack of rights and entitlements at the global level.  

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