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Sustainability is about dealing today with the challenges that we face tomorrow. It is not a luxury but about making ourselves fit for the future together. The challenges we face – from atmospheric warming to energy insecurity – simply know no borders and require us to go beyond traditional political and economic thinking.

This is vital at a time of economic difficulty. There is no contradiction between the short and long term just as there is no contradiction between” green” and “growth”. Just look at the global market for green technologies: it’s worth 1000 billion Euros per year and may triple by 2020.

Europe 2020, the EU’s long term strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, is driven by this logic. We can already see the benefits. In 5 years over 300 000 new jobs have been created in the renewables sector in 5 years. Meeting the EU’s 2020 climate and energy goals, could see another 1.5 million new jobs related to such clean technologies. We have also committed to at least 20% of Europe’s new budget being targeted on sustainability.

This approach also drives Europe’s foreign policies. In the United Nations, at Rio+20 and in the global climate talks, the European Union is spearheading the world’s environmental agenda. This includes innovative programs like Sustainable Energy for All, which aims at giving access to sustainable energy services to 500 million people by 2030.

The challenges our planet faces are immense and will become more complex in the future. A global consensus is essential among governments, business, and in particular among peoples. Green Cross International has played and will continue to play a vital role in fostering this. I congratulate GCI and President Gorbachev on their leadership.

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