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Speech by Mr. Mans Lonnroth


  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

  It's a great pleasure for me, too, to once again return to the CCICED. I would like to make one comment on the contribution of the Council's sustainable development. Now for me, sustainable development has evolved in three stages. The first stage occurred some forty years ago. Then the focus was industrial pollution, air, water, chemicals and so on. The response was legislation and environmental protection agencies. Solutions were found to most of these problems. They are the same all around the world and the best idea is migrate. Now some 20 years ago, we realized in the 2nd phase that not only the ideas migrate but also pollution migrates across borders. And small countries notice this first before others and in large countries and provinces noticing this. The response was multilateral environmental agreements on sulphur dioxide, the rivers and great lakes and so on. When we look overall that all the multilateral agreements, be they regional or global, some have met success, some, if you would consider them success. But overall, the results were rather checkative.

  Some 10-15 years ago, we realized that neither the 1st nor the 2nd response was sufficient. Problems are greater than that in agriculture, forestry, transportation, energy, urbanization and so on. The phrase to solve these problems is sustainable development, to integrate social, economic and environmental concerns. We have been struggling ever since how to make sense of this. The key problem as I see them is that ministries have a natural tendency to build great walls, surround themselves with great walls. Sustainable development is like windows and doors in the walls where ideas and, in fact, also people can flow. We are still in experimental phase on how to open up these great walls.

  Sustainable development, let us not fool ourselves on this. We do not just know how to open up these walls and this Council we did deliberately on one of the most difficult and critical issues of all that face us, namely, agriculture and sustainable rural development. And this is a difficult task as any. No one has the answer how to do this. We can all learn and we all have experiments. All nations, indeed all governments can learn from each other on how to do this.

  I would like to add one comment on China and this is on the unique position of China. It is unique both because of its history and because of its size. As China grows, we know we would probably have another one more China in the year 2010 compared to what we have in the year 2000. And if the forecast proves right and correct, we will have yet two more Chinas in 2020, perhaps we will have them in 2023, 2025, or perhaps in the fall of 2026. Who knows? We will probably have four Chinas altogether in 2020s compared to the year 2000. The impact of course is going to be huge on the world. We see this already. We see them in steel prices, we see them in oil prices and we see them in the import of timber. As a general tendency, well-organized nations around the world use natural resources in the less well-organized nations. We can see this very clearly when the European Union's fishery fleets assist in drawing down the stocks of fish outside Africa. We can see this in timber logging in Latin America, Africa, parts of Asia. We can see them timber logging in Russia and in the western parts of Siberia. So with true feeling in my view in order to make the concept of sustainable development a real concept, we must find a truly international approach to these common natural resources.

  Finally, let me second my colleague Paul Thibault's words about our Chairman, Mr. Xie Zhenhua. I fully agree on Paul Thibault's words on Mr. Xie's leadership, his ability and energy and his famous voice. I am very glad also to see him back in good form at this Council.

  Thank you very much.

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