Vicente Fox Quesada
calls for a global pact for viable, sustainable and shared development
In this era of globalization, free exchange plays an enormously important role in the development of nations. No country that seeks economic growth and greater well-being can afford
to have a policy of closed borders. The way must be kept open
for exchanging goods, services and technology, and above all for the free flow of ideas. It is equally important to share responsibility for the well-being of planet Earth.
The days of isolation are over. This new era requires the greatest possible participation by every human being for the viable, sustainable and just development sought by all of humanity. While each country must establish its own strategies for growth and development, none can fail to realize that shared future prosperity can only be assured through the broadest international cooperation.
Mexico believes that in a world characterized by interdependence, common problems demand common solutions. The greatest challenge facing todays governments is to present a united front to address shared problems.
The free flow of commerce, investment, science and technology, amongst other things, must evolve within the context of assuring truly equitable competition in an international system free from barriers or obstacles to meeting and exchange so that the benefits of economic growth reach everyone. As these lead to greater levels of well-being for all, not only will people be able to overcome their impoverished conditions, they will also have new opportunities for developing their talents and abilities. This in turn will help to improve the world in which we all live.
The Mexican Government has already set on track a new integral non-welfare strategy for addressing poverty within our borders. Based on joint responsibility rather than paternalism, it will offer families new opportunities to escape poverty. Through access to better education and health, and to adequate living conditions, we hope that the women and men of Mexico will be able to develop their talents and abilities for the benefit of their families, communities and country.
In Mexico we believe that it is possible to eradicate extreme poverty, to reduce social inequality and to improve societys living standards. This is an ethical and political obligation in every region of the world, particularly in the least developed countries.
The highest possible level of social participation is needed to achieve new and greater well-being. The rise of democracy and civil societys determination in every nation to take part in the design and implementation of government decisions are not incompatible with the challenges of globalization.
Democratization and the demand for greater social participation in the decisions that affect us all have become the central global process of our time. Yet this rise of democracy
is still not apparent in multilateral institutions particularly financial ones. The reform and strengthening of multilateral international institutions should be based on universal values that promote and defend human rights including civil, political, economic, environmental, social and cultural ones.
This demands concrete commitments not just by governments and multilateral organizations, but also by the private sector, non-governmental organizations and society in general in every nation. Governments have been able to come together at global level with the invaluable assistance of civil environmental protection organizations to analyse the principal environmental threats and establish concrete goals for addressing them. The greatest support both internal and external is needed to achieve these goals.
Various legal bodies must develop or modify laws adequate
to the task of protecting the environment, but business needs
the will and the financial, technical and other resources to implement them. Governments must ensure both that such laws are respected, and that the mechanisms are in place to enable the productive sector to function as clean industry. In Mexico we have both fiscal and social incentives to achieve this. We also seek to ensure that industry has access to new technologies and resources through international cooperation.
The threat to the survival of the planets wealth of biological diversity and of its environmental quality has provoked a concerted and increasingly societal response. Climate change, water and soil contamination, overexploitation of water and forestry resources, desertification, and the increasing loss of biodiversity as well as growing inequality both within and between nations and the frequent violation of human rights have forced humankind to become aware of the seriousness of these problems and to take steps towards finding solutions.
Today, sustainable and equitable development is not just an exceptional opportunity it is the only way for humanity to go. We need development with a human face, based on the struggle against poverty. We must make a grand global pact for sustainable development and for the financing this requires.
Mexico is a signatory to the most important global conventions in the field of environment. It has also done much to implement them through enlarging its Protected Natural Areas and improving monitoring and surveillance. We have placed ourselves as a driving force in the region through our participation in global and transboundary programmes for conserving and protecting species and ecosystems. In addition we have taken concrete steps to ensure the protection of the worlds biodiversity on the initiative of the Megadiverse Countries 15 nations harbouring 70 per cent of it.
Worldwide economic stability depends on every country including the hitherto excluded sectors of society as both protagonists and beneficiaries of development. Well-being must be the most tangible and widely circulated product of globalization.
We, the women and men of every nation, have a shared responsibility in building ongoing and sustainable development and it is only right that the benefits should also be shared. Well-being that reaches everyone is the best guarantee of peace and stability for the global community of this new century
Vicente Fox Quesada is President of the United Mexican States.
PHOTOGRAPH: Sandra Helena Vribe/UNEP/Topham
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | Looking through new lenses | Development with a human face | Trade can transform | Achieving winwinwin | People | Promises to keep | As precious as gold | Expanding the circle | At a glance: Globalization, poverty, trade and the environment | Acting local | Cooperation is catching | Books & products | Getting through the bottleneck | Investing in the environment | Bishkek Mountain Platform | You cant breathe money | We will succeed | Fair trade? Fair question