By Sibel Tinar, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The World Forum on Sustainability will be back in Brazil for its second year, bringing together the leaders of the political, commercial, and environmental entities, including speakers such as the former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and the former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The forum, whose main theme is determined as “Economic, Environmental and Social Sustainability of the Amazon and the Planet”, will be held between March 24th-26th in Manaus, the capital and the largest city in the state of Amazonas.
With sixty percent of the Amazon Rainforest on its soil, Brazil is the country that bears the heaviest weight for enabling sustainable development. The current threats to the Amazon include, deforestation, destructive floods and droughts brought on by climate change, and illegal land speculation, as well as others.
Acknowledging that sustainability is an international concern with global consequences, the forum will focus on securing a political and entrepreneurial commitment for the sustainable development of the planet. The overall objective of the event is to disseminate practices and successful mechanisms of sustainable development.
Aside from Bill Clinton, who has founded of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the event has many other important names confirmed to conduct seminars. The forum will be opened by Omar Aziz, the governor of the state of Amazonas, and Izabella Teixeira, Brazil’s Minister of Environment.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will be speaking as part of a series of seminars entitled “Public Policies that Favor Sustainability”, followed by a seminar on “Large Events and Sustainable Cities” by Dan Epstein, head of sustainable development of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Richard Branson, the founder and president of Virgin Group will conduct a seminar on “Business Strategies for the Decarbonization of the Economy”, environmental activist and the chief sustainability officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Adam Werbach will be speaking on “Internalizing Sustainability in Companies”, and will debate on the subject of “How to Position Business in Favor of the Planet” with the environmentalist and journalist Paul Hawken, who is scheduled to speak about “Maintaining Vision and Motivation in order to Achieve Sustainability”.
The last day of the event will feature speeches by Bill Clinton on “Mobilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Development”, by the former Brazilian Minister of Environment and former presidential candidate Marina Silva, as well as closing remarks by the senator and former governor of Amazonas Eduardo Braga, who will also be presenting The Amazon Charter: Manifesto for the sustainable development of the Amazon.
The International Forum on Sustainability first took place in March 2010 in Manaus, and counted Al Gore, the former vice president of the U.S., James Cameron, the director of hit films such as Titanic and Avatar, as well as the scientist Thomas Lovejoy among its speakers.
The signing of the Letter of the Amazon, which is an affirmation of principals including respect for diversity and ecologic integrity, as well as the promotion of social and economic justice, and the strengthening of democracy and a culture of non-violence, at the forum has provided a milestone on the issue of sustainability worldwide.