Mikhail Gorbachev joins Nobel Laureate meeting in Stockholm

Mikhail Gorbachev, Photo: European Parliament/C.C 2.0

3 rd Nobel Laureate Symposium

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Science     2011-01-17

Mikhail Gorbachev joins Nobel Laureate meeting in Stockholm

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will be attending the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium in Stockholm in May 2011. In his capacity as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Green Cross International, conceived during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, President Gorbachev will contribute to a transdisciplinary discussion on Earth Systems transformation, in preparation for the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development next year.

Former President of the USSR Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev has accepted our invitation to participate as delegate to the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium, taking place on May 16-19 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in the presence and with the support of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

President Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his leading role in the global peace process that was stimulated by the transformation of the Soviet political system though Glasnost.

In that same year President Gorbachev formulated an idea that a few years later materialised into Green Cross International, an environmental organisation conceived during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and formally founded by President Gorbachev in 1993. Its mission is to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity’s relationship with nature.

One part of the Symposium will explore the ‘Tipping Points’ of earth systems, addressing the links between crisis, opportunity and innovation for navigating shifts and large-scale transformations towards global sustainability.

- “There are ongoing large-scale transformations in society influenced by innovations in fields such as information technology, nano- and biotechnology and new energy systems with great potential to significantly improve our lives in a globalised society. Without Planetary Stewardship for global sustainable development incorporating the capacity of the biosphere, there is a risk that innovation may reinforce unsustainable development pathways. Through the participation of President Gorbachev, the Symposium will have access to his vast and invaluable experience of the dynamics of systems in transformation”, said Professor Johan Rockström, Symposium Chair and Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, and Stockholm Environment Institute.

The Symposium is part of a series of meetings initiated in 2007 at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research hosted by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by a second meeting at St. James’s Palace under the auspices of the Prince of Wales.

The 3rd Symposium will gather more than twenty Nobel Laureates, several leading policy makers and some of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The meeting will take a transdisciplinary approach and adopt a systems perspective on climate change and deteriorating ecosystems by proposing a discussion around how economic, political and social systems can be governed within the boundaries of the planet.

In addition, there will be discussions on the measures needed to ensure sustainable management of our planet’s common resources as the need for economic progress continues, given welfare improvement, population growth and poverty control.

A key topic for the discussions will be how societies can be innovative and boost the planet’s resilience rather than reducing it. How can we increase biodiversity, be stewards of ecosystems and increase the options for human welfare on Earth?

- “The need for change is more critical than ever in the face of the simultaneous crises engulfing everything from the economy, to energy sources, to the very atmosphere of our planet. We are at a crossroads, clearly signposted by scientific evidence, and must choose between sliding into collective chaos or grasping the chance to embark on a new, sustainable era. Nobel Laureates possess the scientific knowledge as well as the moral authority to facilitate the right choices”, said President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Symposium will conclude with a memorandum signed by key Nobel Laureates. The memorandum will be communicated and handed over to the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability appointed by the UN Secretary General. The conclusions of the Panel will feed into the preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro and into the ongoing climate negotiations.

The 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability is being organised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

For further information please contact:
Stellan Forsberg, tel. +46 70 763 97 66, stellan.forsberg(at)mondayrelations.se or
Ellika Hermansson Török, tel. +46 73 707 85 47, ellika(at)stockholmresilience.su.se


Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, www.kva.se
Stockholm Resilience Centre, www.stockholmresilience.su.se
Stockholm Environment Institute, www.sei.se
The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, www.beijer.kva.se
Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, www.pik-potsdam.de