By: Chris Graeme
NOBLE PRIZE winner and United Nations President Kofi Annan is to make a whistle-stop visit to Lisbon on May 28 to be the key speaker in a seminar entitled ‘Challenges for Humanity in the 21st Century’.
The event, organised by Banco Espírito Santo in conjunction with the weekly newspaper Expresso, will discuss the necessity of matching the needs of business development and wealth creation with the pressing necessity of protecting the environment.
The one-day event, which will cost 350 euros per participant, is expected to attract the cream of Lisbon’s financial, political, academic and commercial establishment on a par with the visits of Al Gore earlier in the year and Bill Gates last year.
The Kofi Annan conference is one of the main initiatives of a project called ‘A Sustainable Future’, developed by the two main sponsors and organisers. The object of the project is to encourage information and communication, and set up a centre for the sustainable development of Portugal through a wide number of partnerships.
During his time as President of the United Nations over the past 10 years, Kofi Annan has accumulated a vast knowledge and experience in matters affecting humanity such as climatic change, HIV/AIDS, fair trade, migration and human rights issues.
Henrique Monteiro, board director at the weekly newspaper Expresso, said: “Kofi Annan was the perfect choice for this initiative, not just because he has 40 years solid experience at the UN or because he is a Noble Prize holder, but because he is one of the best people and most experienced in the world to talk about sustainable development today.
“Kofi Annan, better than anyone, understands both sides of the coin. He understands the necessity of commercial and business development in creating wealth and employment in our modern society, because without business there can be no wealth or jobs. However, he also understands that development must be sensitive and just, balanced and environmentally conscious,” he said.
Dr. Monteiro said that the results of irresponsible economic development were clear to see today in environmental change and global warming, in climatic and social disasters in Africa and the Third World.
Dr. Joaquim Goias, administrator at Bes bank, said: “We have to learn to balance economic growth with preserving the environment. In 2005, the bank has invested and helped develop 10 million dollars worth of sustainable projects, including in the fields of recyclable and green energy sources.”
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