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European Environmental Laureates Convention
in Green City Freiburg
|by Satis Shroff|
Freiburg is set to play host to environmental laureates from across the globe: under the patronage of Klaus Töpfer, the European Environment Foundation is organising the first “European Convention of Environmental Laureates”, to be held in Freiburg from 08-11 March 2012.
The convention is to serve as a platform for international and interdisciplinary exchange between figures who actively shape environmental policy. There is to be a joint declaration from environmental laureates on UN Conference Rio+20. As part of the convention there will be meetings with young academics, students and school pupils, which is to this scribe reminiscent to the pow-pow of Nobel Prize laureates in the flowery isle of Mainau, which I attend sometime back as an invitee of the committee.
From 8-11 March 2012, the European Environment Foundation will hold the 1st European Convention of Environmental Laureates in the fair Schwarzwald city of Freiburg. The remit of organising such a convention in the city is a key aspect of the European Environment Foundation’s charitable work.
Forty scientists and environmentalists from around the world, all winners of prestigious European and selected non-European environmental prizes, have announced their intention to participate at the first convention being organised in Freiburg.
The Convention has three key aspects: It is planned that environmental laureates will adopt a “Declaration of European Environmental Laureates on Rio+20” at the convention during the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Time for exchange between prize winners and young academics, students and school pupils, which is being coordinated together with the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Sciences at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. Other programme features include a panel discussion with selected laureates and young environmental campaigners, as well as round table talks where laureates will discuss issues in detail with school pupils, students and young academics.
The convention aims to provide a platform for international, interdisciplinary, open-ended exchange between laureates from a broad spectrum of countries and from diverse research and working fields within the wide environmental world. In particular, it is intended to facilitate exchange at a personal level between environmental policy visionaries and pioneers, which is why the convention programme also includes a number of cultural events and opportunities to socialise. Furthermore, all laureates have been invited to attend together with their partners.
The patron of the 1st European Convention of Environmental Laureates will be Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Prof. Töpfer is also a former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. Furthermore, acclaimed climate researcher Prof. Hans Joachim Schnellhuber will speak about “The Great Transformation” at a public event on the evening of 9th March 2012 in Freiburg’s Historic Merchants’ Hall (Historischen Kaufhaus), which is located near the cathedral.
The convention will be financed by the European Environment Foundation and through contributions from Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik & Messe (FWTM). The Mayor of Freiburg, Dieter Salomon, is a member of the Board of Trustees and has supported the project from its initial stages.
Freiburg is considered to be one of the birthplaces of the environmental movement, and has made a name for itself in the fields of solar research and solar technology, traffic policy, environmental and climate protection, and urban development. By launching the convention, the founding members and trustees of the foundation wish to strengthen Freiburg’s role as a “Green City” and a pioneer of sustainability. They also aim to provide fresh impetus to sustainability policy in Freiburg and the discussions that surround this. Bringing together international visionaries and pioneers in Freiburg in this way also serves to publicise and develop ecological endeavours across the globe. The international focus of the convention stems from the conviction that all environmental policy must be implemented on an international scale in order to be effective.
The European Environment Foundation was founded in autumn 2011. The aim of the foundation, which is registered under Swiss law, is to promote dialogue in all environmental policy disciplines within the European states, to provide them with stimuli and to spur on exchange within Europe that is constructive, builds trust, fosters communication and inspires research. The foundation is proud to name 12 distinguished figures from the international environmental movement as its trustees. Prof. Eicke R. Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, holds the position of Chairman. Founding members of the foundation are Bernd Dallmann and Rolf Hiller.
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