Theme: “Globalism and Sustainable Development: Is ethics the missing link?”
Date: 2-3 February, 2002
Venue: Palais des Congrès


The first edition of the Earth Dialogues was held ahead of the UN Johannesburg meeting of Rio+10, World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) and supported preparations for that event.  High profile decision makers, thinkers and opinion leaders formed the Scientific Committee of the Earth Dialogues, which distributed the 1,400 participants into parallel sessions leading up to the plenary for the conclusions.  It is hoped that proposals arising from these discussions in Lyon will be taken into account by governments, civil society and international organizations in their preparations for the WSSD 


The Earth Dialogues is a public forum initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, which aims to mobilise global public interest and action to promote three important objectives essential to the future of humanity: averting the ecological disasters which threaten our planet; fighting the plague of poverty; and acting to ensure truly sustainable development.

In the presence of Mr. Lionel Jospin, Prime Minister of France, 1,300 people attendedthe first Earth Dialogues Forum in Lyon, France. 130 speakers participated from around the world: representatives of civil society, government, international organizations, finance, business, religion, media and academia convened to exchange their views on how to reinvigorate the ethics debate within the sustainable development and globalization agendas. Speakers and participants were challenged to identify new ways for humanity to overcome the economic, social and environmental impasse in which it currently finds itself trapped. 


The Earth Dialogues Forum was divided into plenary sessions, roundtables and open debates. There was one roundtable dedicated to each of the following sectors: International Economic Institutions, Business and Industry, Media and Communication, Parliamentarians and Government Representatives, International Institutions and Organizations, Religious and Spiritual Leaders, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

Each roundtable consisted of thirteen to sixteen speakers, half of whom were from the sector in question and the other half from the other six sectors, including Civil Society, Trade Unions and Academics. The representatives of the sector under debate were challenged by the other members of the roundtable, in order to ensure that the opinions and views of all members of society were taken into account in the discussions. All Earth Dialogues audience members also had the opportunity to exchange their views and to raise questions with the speakers.

The event included eight roundtables, which addressed four themes: 

  • The ethical challenges in promoting sustainable development;
  • The role of ethical norms in promoting sustainable development;
  • Policy recommendations for action and implementation;
  • Political strategies for Johannesburg and beyond.

In addition, a special session of the World Council of Former Foreign Ministers addressed the themes of the Earth Dialogues, with a particular focus on global political and security issues. 

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