UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, opened the Planet-workshops’ Global Conference Monday 3 June at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Over three days the conference will bring together around 2,000 leading figures from over 100 countries to discuss the topic of “achieving a successful transition”. In her opening speech, the Director-General declared: “We are entering an era of limits and we must unlock the unrestricted potential of human intelligence, innovation and creation. By enabling access to quality education for all, knowledge sharing, scientific collaboration and intercultural dialogue, UNESCO has a major role to play in this revolution.”
Shortly before the inauguration, Irina Bokova met with the Chairman and CEO of GDF-SUEZ, Gérard Mestrallet, in view of the coming Conference on Climate Change that will be held in France in 2015. She called for the strengthening of UNESCO’s partnerships with the private sector to develop renewable energies, as well as for greater education about the need for sustainable development. Mr. Mestrallet, who gave the first keynote speech, focused on the issues of energy transition and the emergence of a “new world energy map,” marked by a new energy order in the United States focused on the extraction of shale gas, the growing energy needs of emerging countries and the arrival of new and more intelligent communication networks able to better adjust supply and demand. “The crisis is not just a difficult time to get through after which we can return to our previous models; we are facing a structural change”, highlighted Mr. Mestrallet.
Co-founded in 2007 by journalists Eric Bazin and George J. Gendelman, the Planet-workshops are a think tank that brings together experts, intellectuals and company managers confronted with the rising challenges of sustainable development. UNESCO has worked closely with the Planet-workshops since its creation and is hosting this year’s Global Conference for the first time, under the honorable patronage of French President François Hollande.