EARTH DIALOGUES 2013 PANELIST: RUUD LUBBERS
Panel 2: Realizing the Opportunities of a World in Transformation
Former Prime Minister, the Netherlands
Ruud Lubbers started his business career by joining his brother in the family-owned company Hollandia, when his father passed away unexpectedly in 1963. He maintained this position until he became Minister of Economic Affairs, including Energy, in 1973. During this time in office, he was faced with the first oil crisis. In 1975, he wrote a white paper on Energy, expanding the focus of Dutch energy research, which was then limited to nuclear (enrichment technology), to include energy conservation and renewables. From 1978 until 1982, Ruud Lubbers was Member of Parliament, where he was instrumental in merging Protestant and Catholic parties into the Christian Democratic Alliance (1980). In 1982, he became Prime Minister, serving until 1994. Ruud Lubbers is now Minister of State.
Ruud Lubbers started his public career at the end of the 1960s, when he joined the ‘Rijnmond Raad’, a public institution to balance economic growth with environmental concerns. In 1971, ‘Limits to Growth’ of the Club of Rome prompted him to recognize the global dimensions of these concerns. During the time when Gro Harlem Brundtland chaired ‘Our Common Future’, Ruud Lubbers realized the first inclusive plan on Environment and Nature in the Netherlands (1988). In 1989, the joint efforts and his friendship with Gro Harlem Brundtland led to the Declaration of The Hague, an agenda-setting document for the Earth Summit.
In 1994, he retired from politics and became professor of globalization, combining this with many ancillary positions, including a position as International President of WWF. From 2001 until 2005, he was High Commissioner for Refugees. During those years, he continued his membership of the Earth Charter Commission. At present, he devotes a lot of time to chairing the Energy Research Centre in the Netherlands, which provides a focus for energy saving, renewable energy, clean fossils (climate change!) and Atoms for Peace (nuclear technology), as well as to the Rotterdam Climate Initiative.
Diversity, respect, reverence for nature and the need to celebrate life mark him as an Earth Charter man.
He is married with three children and nine grandchildren.