Theme: “Enfrenta o desafio do uso sustentável das aguas para superar desigualdades – Facing the challenge of using sustainable water to overcome inequalities”
Date: 26-28 November, 2008
Venue: Hotel Othon Palace
The mission of the 2008 Earth Dialogues was to analyse threats and obstacles, unlock potential, fight injustice and forge partnerships to stimulate actions through which Latin America can further sustainable development both at home and globally. Participants focused on the dynamic and complex relationship between sustainable development and poverty, inequality, violence and the environment.
The major emerging economies – in particular China, India, Russia, Mexico, South Africa and, of course, Brazil – have a huge role to play in furthering both sustainability and security. As the hosts of a vast share of its biodiversity and population, the decisions taken by these nations regarding energy consumption, food production and natural resources management, will impact on the entire planet. These emerging markets have the potential to be the vanguard of a new age of truly sustainable development, rejecting the untenable paths taken by the industrialised world and embracing opportunities that do not disregard the environment and the poor. As climate change leaves more people vulnerable to environmental stress, the most important task is to decouple human development from the rising consumption of fossil fuels. Latin America intends to be a forerunner and proactive global partner in this process.
In cooperation with the Government of the State of Minas Gerais, the Renato Azeredo Foundation and Green Cross Brazil, GCI held the Minas Gerais Earth Dialogues in the State capital, Belo Horizonte, on November 26, 27, 28, 2008.
The Minas Gerais Earth Dialogues was a one of its kind opportunity to formulate alternative models for natural resources management and conflict resolution that nurture human wellbeing, diversity and security, while preserving nature for future generations. The forum also mobilised strong political support for new initiatives to combat the perilous gap between rich and poor and addressed the non-material dimensions of poverty, including the sense of hopelessness that discourages millions of people from reaching their fullest potential, or caring for their environment.
The debate centred around four main axes, the subjects of the four working groups meeting in three parallel sessions during the forum:
- Water and climate change
- Renewable energy for a sustainable society
- New approaches to territorial planning
- International Solidarity: South-South cooperation
Crosscutting issues transcending all four groups include environmental education and awareness, food security, ethics and social responsibility and the Earth Charter. Discussions alternated between plenary sessions featuring inspiring keynote speakers and public debates, and intensive interactive working group sessions.
A groundbreaking blueprint declaration named the “Minas Gerais Charter”, including targeted action plans, was generated at the Minas Gerais Earth Dialogues. Success is measured by the concrete actions, commitments and partnerships (local, regional, South-South and global) that are proposed, and followed-up on, and the distribution and recognition of the blueprint declaration.