This article, published in Sustainability Thomson Reuters, is an interview of Mr Zhang Xinsheng, President of IUCN and former Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board. In it, he talks about Eco Forum Global and his vision and implementation of sustainability for the future. An excerpt of the article can be found below:
Sustainability: Mr. Zhang, as the co-founder of a new conference of world leaders called “Eco Forum Global” could you give us an update on the initiative and why it’s important?
Mr. Zhang: Some people call Eco Forum Global (abbreviated hereinafter as EFG) the green Davos forum in China. Founded in 2009, it has drawn more and more attention and participation both at home and abroad. It was initiated when China itself had already developed into a phase when conservation and environmental protection were major issues. People were demanding blue sky, clean water and healthy food. The national economy was not developing in a sustainable way. Therefore, the Chinese government made environmental protection and conservation a high priority. It was under these circumstances that EFG was founded, while at the same time internationally climate change and sustainability had become major issues.
The Eco Forum itself is a public-private collaboration which brings all the relevant stakeholders together across the world, such as governments, private sectors, science and academia, civil societies and media. Its huge convening power provides a platform for leaders and the best minds of the world in their relevant fields to dialogue on an equal basis, to share knowledge and best practices, to find convergence of interest, and hence to seek solutions to problems at hand.
We are funded by a foundation, and not by the government of China. Since its inauguration, EFG has made a substantial impact worldwide, thereby establishing itself as one of the major international forums in the world on sustainable development and eco-civilization. Decision-makers from government, business, NGOs and academia now come to Eco Forum Global, in part because we are at the center of the developing world economic and development philosophy, and in part because we are showcasing best practices, explaining and influencing policies and gaining insight into future trends, and hence shaping the agenda for conservation and development.
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