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Shared Societies, Enviromental Sustainibility And The Renewal Of Democracy

October 17, 2012

Keynote Address

Wim Kok at the GES in Rio - Former Dutch prime minister and current president of the Club de Madrid Wim Kok delivered the plenary address at the start of the second day of the GES in Rio.

He focused on three related issues: access to energy and climate change, inclusion and social cohesion, and democracy.



Key Remarks

  • ‘Public confidence in the future and public confidence in business and political leadership are shrinking. The key question is how to restore trust?’
  • ‘We need to assure people that values of fairness and inclusiveness are taken seriously.’
  • ‘We need new synergies between markets and state. History shows that too much state doesn't work, neither does an overreliance on market principles.’
  • ‘We need to move from more to better – a mental shift is needed.’
  • ‘GDP growth can no longer be an end in itself – it must be combined with social inclusiveness. Growth is a means to achieving better living standards and happiness.’
  • ‘The most successful and harmonious societies are where all stakeholders are prepared to act together – including over social and ecological issues.’
  • ‘We simply cannot afford another industrial revolution to provide the goods demanded by the markets.’
  • ‘Six points to tackle issues of energy security, food security and climate change: we need integrated, holistic regional approaches; we need water management strategies; biofuel production must respect biodiversity and sustainable land use; we need clear price signals, including a price on carbon; environmental taxation is needed both for incentives and funds; and taxation of liquid fuels should be used to finance infrastructure.’
  • ‘When designing environmental policy, we cannot think nationally.’
  • ‘We must promote “shared societies”, where all individuals share a common capacity to participate economically, politically and socially.’
  • ‘Democracy is where diversity flourishes most. Democracy ensures accountability to citizens and supports collaboration across countries.’
  • ‘We need to promote democracy and improve the way democracy works, both nationally and globally.’
  • ‘Global answers should be more than the sum of national answers.’
  • ‘We should focus on what binds us rather than what separates us. We need to be the best that we can.’
  • ‘Our goal should be an inclusive, fair and sustainable society.’
Media Kit

Find updated information and materials concerning the Global Economic Symposium in the media kit.


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Kathrin Kupke