President calls for concerted efforts to save the planet

June 26th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Mumbai, June 26 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Thursday called for concerted efforts to save the planet for the future generations and tackle problems of poverty, terrorism and disasters. Inaugurating an international conference on “Responsibility to the Future: Business, Peace, Sustainability” here in the evening, Patil said in the contemporary world, technology horizons are expanding fast, providing unparalleled opportunities for creating wealth and prosperity.

At the same time, issues like poverty, terrorism, disasters, pandemics, energy security, food security and climate change confront humanity. The approaches adopted to tackle them would be fundamental for peace, development and sustainability.

The president pointed out that though the World Domestic Product achieved a level of over $48 trillion in 2006, the distribution of wealth and income is becoming more distorted.

“Two percent of the world’s richest people own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth, while the poorest 50 percent of people own one percent. This situation is unsustainable. Such a large proportion of the world’s population cannot be left on the periphery,” she said.

Calling for the need to address disparities, Patil said this would mean including women into the process of development - they constitute half of the world but their potential remains largely untapped.

“Without women’s empowerment and their participation in all areas of human activity, there cannot be sustainability in any sphere of human endeavour,” the president pointed out.

Discussing technological advances that have changed the concept of physical distances, she said more revolutionary developments are likely to happen in the next 25 years in the fields of biotechnology, nano-technology, robotics, genetics and space technology.

She said it must be considered what this would mean for life on earth, negative fallouts and whether the new technologies would be chanelised for global welfare. In this regard, she mentioned how cost-effective technology could be employed for de-salinating seawater since the world is facing a water stress situation.

President Patil said that our planet belongs to all of us and to sustain it as well as to preserve it for the future generations requires action by all of us.

Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

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