Mr Director-General, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a privilege to be at the Opening Session of this conference.

First of all I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the United Nations Office at Geneva for the possibility to hold our conference in this magnificent room.

It is a historical place and it sets the level of the discussions that will follow very highly due to its historical nature.

We are celebrating today the 20th anniversary of Green Cross with this 7th edition of the Earth Dialogues, which were launched 10 years ago, and the first session took place in Lyon.

It has become ever since a value-loaded platform for development of the proposals and the solutions on sustainable development.

I think that the choice of Geneva for the anniversary event of the Earth Dialogues is very symbolic because Geneva is the cradle of modern multilateralism. The first event that took place was in the current building of Hotel de Ville in the Alabama Room, where the first mediation services in the Civil War of the United States were provided by Switzerland. Then it came into being the Red Cross in Switzerland, then we saw the naissance of the League of Nations, and after the War we have ever since the headquarters the European offices of the United Nations.

So we thought that today the voice and appeal in support of the multilateral system that exists in terrible difficulties today will be much stronger if it comes from Geneva, the cradle of multilateralism, and I want to assure you that we will use this opportunity to raise our voice in support of the unique political mechanisms which are represented today by the United Nations in order to promote sustainability, peace, security and the fight against poverty.

I must say that the world has never seen change as quickly as today. Just imagine, even tonight, there will be 220,000 people at the dinner table that we not here even yesterday, and many of them will be frustrated, very unhappy, half of them will lack food, one-third will not have water and sanitation, and of course this factor becomes the major driver of the world development.

Therefore, I would like to thank very much the very thoughtful comments of my co-panellists, and I would like especially to thank the Director-General for his three points on the agenda, because they resonate 100% with the philosophy, record and mission of Green Cross.

I hope that as a result of this 1-day session which is filled by the best intellect, and I am not exaggerating, we have here representatives of major intellectual groups, major individuals, and we will be able to tap their wisdom and knowledge, and I am sure at the end of the day we will be able to produce a declaration which will represent a roadmap of how we can walk the talk.

Thank you very much.