CLUB OF ROME, at Bucharest: The Power of the Mind

Publish date: 03-10-2012
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40 years after publishing its first Report "Limits to Growth”, the CLUB OF ROME held the 2012 Annual Conference from October 1-2 in Bucharest, Romania. The international think-tank, which is known for its systemic and inter-connected research focus, followed an invitation of the Romanian Association for the CLUB OF ROME and the National Bank of Romania, where it brought together some of the world's thought leaders to debate the most pressing challenges of our time.

In 1972, the "Limits to Growth” commanded critical attention and sparked debate around the world about the future of humanity. It pointed out that exceeding our global capacities for resource use and emissions would place significant limits on global economic development in the 21st century. People might be consuming more - but enjoying it less.

On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of this groundbreaking Report, which, at the same time as it was heavily criticized, contributed significantly to the development of the concept of sustainability, two of its original authors, the American scientist Dennis Meadows as well as the Norwegian scientist Jorgen Randers commented the development and progress over the last 40 years - and took a critical look into the future of our planet.

Meadows stressed the inconvenient realization that humanity has entered the uncharted territory of "overshoot” and therefore "lost the option of a sustainable future”. Jorgen Randers, who presented the findings of the newest Report to the Club of Rome "2052 - A Global Forecast for the next forty years”, raised the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continued on its path of over-consumption and short-termism. As a consequence, the CLUB OF ROME Assembly debated and recognized the more and more urging necessity of resilience and adaptation measures for its agenda.

In working groups, the delegates and guests discussed the prospects of achieving a New Economy and enquired how radical and profound reform would have to be in order to achieve an economic system fit to meet the challenges of the future. In his insightful lecture, the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mr. Mugur Isarescu called for reform in the International Banking System, while warning at the same time that "too radical reform approaches and over-regulation are rather counterproductive.”

Particular attention was drawn to Mircea Malita's presentation ”No Limits to Learning”, an earlier Report to the CLUB OF ROME, identifying the potential of education. Malita was a founding member of the Romanian Association for the CLUB OF ROME as well as honorary member of the international organization. ”He left a remarkable footprint for the CLUB OF ROME - especially, but not only, in Romania”, commented the newly elected Co-President, Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker.

Other topics included the normative discussion about humanity's current value system, new sustainable pathways for future energy supply and consumption as well as new ideas, systemic solutions and scenarios to achieve a better future for humankind in a harmonious relationship to nature.

The Annual Assembly of the CLUB OF ROME elected Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker (Germany), Co-Chair, International Panel on Sustainable Resource Use, as well as Dr. Anders Wijkman (Sweden), former member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chairman of the Tallberg Foundation as new Co-Presidents of the Club.

The Executive Board of the CLUB OF ROME welcomed two new Members: The Secretary General to the Mexican Chapter of the CLUB OF ROME, Ms. Susanna Chacon as well as Mr. Calin Georgescu, expert on sustainable development and strategic planning and Secretary General of the Romanian Association for the CLUB OF ROME were elected.

In addition, the General Assembly of the CLUB OF ROME officially announced the opening of its new National Association in Nepal, which has been opened this year.

Ian Johnson, Secretary General of the CLUB OF ROME, also added: "We are very happy about a growing number of strategic partnerships with various individuals and institutions, such as the National Bank of Romania, the prestigious Wuppertal Institute in Germany and artists such as the Italian filmmakers, producing a documentary about the `Limits to Growth`”.

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