“Leaders today need to emulate the conviction and resolve of post-war leaders and articulate a new vision of sustainable development, putting in place policies and laws that will ensure the required transformation.”
Mary Robinson speaking at the Freedom and Solidarity Forum Caen France June 5.
Addressing the Forum on Freedom and Solidarity in Caen France, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union on “rethinking the economy of the future” Mary Robinson argued that “In rethinking the economy of the future, it is now time to commit to a world unconstrained by carbon emissions and to work backwards from there, identifying and taking the steps we need to take to have a fair pathway to that carbon neutral world. This is not purely a technical challenge; it is fundamentally a moral and political challenge, because it has to be done fairly bearing in mind the different development stages of the countries of the world.”
The Forum coincided with the official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Overlord operation on the beaches of Normandy on June 6. The high level event was attended by American and European political leaders, as well as international business leaders, heads of international organizations, thought leaders and young talents who were brought together to discuss the emerging challenges we must face to protect, preserve and defend freedom in the years to come.
Delivering the keynote ahead of the panel discussion which included Philippe Aghion, Professor of Economics, Harvard University and Bertrand Badré, Managing Director and World Bank Group CFO, Mary Robinson reflected on the leaders who in 1944 and 1945 did not shy away from the mammoth task or repairing a post-world war world, but who, armed with the mantra of “never again”, were galvanized to take transformative action, putting in place measures, structures and international laws such as the Charter of the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the Marshall Plan and laying the foundations for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Post-war leaders had the sheer will and power to act, setting out to create a peaceful and prosperous world” said Mary Robinson who went on to state how that same transformative leadership is required now to deal with the challenge of climate change; “The scale of the challenge requires direction equivalent to the leadership shown in the immediate post-war years. The current economic model is incapable of averting this disaster. We need to change our economic systems – how we produce energy, how we use our land and other natural resources, how we transport people and goods, and how we live, eat and work – if our children and grandchildren are to survive. These are the issues that need to top the agenda of any discussion on the economy of the future.”