Environmental Sustainability and Shared Societies Working Group Holds Second Meeting

The Working Group is led by Laura Chinchilla and Zlatko Lagumdzija, the former president of Costa Rica and former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively. The Working Group is made up of 15 experts from organizations such as the UN, OECD, Oxfam, World Bank, national governments, grass roots activists and members of indigenous communities representing a broad range of experiences and viewpoints. A lively conversation was held that examined the relationship and research that supports a link between Shared Society and environmental sustainability, current challenges and best practices, and policy recommendations for the future.

Discussion began with an address and Q&A with Jigme Yoser Thinley, former Prime Minister of Bhutan and Club de Madrid Member. Prime Minister Thinley stressed the need to move towards a post-GDP world where other, more holistic measurements are used to assess the wellbeing of a county (such as using Gross National Happiness instead). He talked about how Bhutan has managed to successfully promote economic development and environmental sustainability – the two are not incompatible.

On the basis of the two day meeting, the report of the Working Group is being finalized, describing how a more inclusive society promotes sustainable development. The document answers the 5 key questions discussed by the Working Group: what are the tensions the planet and its people face? What themes and topics must be addressed? What are the most effective tactics to address these tensions? What tools are available? And what institutions and sectors can be identified as targets to implement these changes?

The document will be presented to Club de Madrid members and, should they agree with the responses to these answers, endorsed. Furthermore, each member of the Working Group has a valuable role to play as a champion of the integrated, holistic approach discussed. They will continue to raise awareness and promote the insights and recommendations of the Working Group in organizations and forums throughout the world.