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Daily Recap October 17 – Global Economic Symposium 2012

October 18th, 2012

‘Shared Societies’, Environmental Sustainability and the Renewal of Democracy – Wim Kok at the GES in Rio, Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 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. His key remarks were:

“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.”

Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests

Panellists agreed that REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is a suitable tool to preserve forests that should be further supported even though its strong connection to climate policy is difficult without a valid climate agreement. To get REDD to be more effective, international funding and engagement of governments is essential. Furthermore degradation of forest needs to be better included.

Brazil is an example where the coordination of measurements to prevent deforestation between different ministries is the key to decrease deforestation rates. An effective moni¬toring system together with short-term law enforcement are key elements of the measurements taken.

The role of international certification schemes such as FSC for companies to prove a sustainable source of their forest products should be strengthened.

Local communities have shown to be a key element for forest protection as forests provide them, for example, with income possibilities and food.

Strengthening the land tenure rights of the local communities is therefore crucial to prevent deforestation.


“The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2012 is being jointly organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) and in collaboration with the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV).

Further information can be found at www.global-economic-symposium.org and at the official GES-blog at blog.global-economic-symposium.org.

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