The Kaohsiung Momentum

by on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Comments
Taiwan and the rest of Asia need to go from “community culture” to “sustainability culture”, devising a new strategy of development based on the riches of cultural exchanges and grassroots inventiveness. This was the message sent by the Kaohsiung International Forum organized by the Ricci Institute and eRenlai on May 25-26.

Largely covered by the media, gathering policymakers and experts from Taiwan, Europe and the Pacific Islands,, the Forum has set up a new agenda for the region.

President Chen Shui-bian pledged to make Taiwan a beacon of sustainability and cultural diversity, while calling for the setting up of a World Environmental Organization.

He also delivered their prizes to the ten eRenlai “Life Sustainability Awards” recipients.

In introduction, Wong Chin-chu, head of the Council of Cultural affairs, Yang Tzu-pao, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and Benoit Vermander (Ricci/Renlai) all called to make global challenges of sustainability and cultural interaction the true basis for Taiwanese internal and international policies.

Michel Camdessus. Former Director General of IMF, described cultural diversity, ethics and spiritual values as the “three pillars” of sustainability.

Wu Chin-fa, vice-president of the Council of Cultural Affairs, showed how Taiwan diversity was already and should be even more the basis of its developmental model..

French Senator Garriaud-Maylam pointed out that a global policy of intangible heritage protection could nurture a culture of peace within and among cultural groups.

Likewise, writer Ping Lu suggested that the creativity and diversity of Taiwan could make it an “extraordinary” member of the international community provided that Taiwanese themselves choose to rely on this part of their heritage.

Dominique David, Executive Director of IFRI, showed that sustainability challenges were modifying the world strategic equilibriums, stressing the challenge that environmental refugees will bring to the global system.

Tuvalu representative Enele S. Sopoaga gave a vivid illustration of this point, by describing the ordeal met by the Pacific islands due to global warming.

Guy Ledoux and Henrik Laursen, representing the European Commission, described how Europe is taking up the challenge, insisting on the fact that environmental protection could become a motor for high-quality economic growth.

This was also the view offered by Guu Yuan-kuang, President of Pingtung Technological University, who described the progresses made by sustainable agriculture in southern Taiwan.

In conclusion, Tchen Yu-hsiou, Secretary General of Taiwan’s National Cultural Association, called for a renewed dialogue of equals between Europe and Asia so as to enrich the cultural assets that will allow us to invent a integral model of development adapted to the new challenges met by the global community.

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Thibaut Camdessus

Tibo has volunteered his rich experience in websites' conception and development for designing the original version of eRENLAI and supervising its coming to life.

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