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Posted on on March 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

State of the Planet, March 25, 2010.

From The Earth Institute, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Thursday, March 25, 2010 –  8:30am-5:30pm EDT

Beijing, London, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York, via live links/webcast

New York site: Lerner Hall, Columbia University, 115 St/Broadway


Webcast/event site:


The State of the Planet conference, held every two years, brings together insights on critical issues from the world’s most influential thinkers and leaders. This year, the Earth Institute, The Economist and Ericsson join forces to bring the conversation to the global community. With broadband access enabled by Ericsson, live events in five cities will be brought together in real time, moderated by Economist journalists. Viewers at home can participate via interactive online tools and discussion boards.

Four major topics are on the table: the science and politics of climate change; healing the world economy in an environmentally sustainable way; the ongoing challenge of ending extreme poverty; and how we can build and strengthen international systems able to deal with continuing crises that span borders.

Speakers include:  UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon; President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico; Prince Albert II of Monaco; Sanjeev Chadha, CEO of Pepsico India; Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme; Xu Jintao, head of the environmental economics program, Peking University; and many others. Moderator: Al Jazeera journalist Riz Khan. Hosts of the event are: Earth Institute director Jeffrey D. Sachs; Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg; and Matthew Bishop, American business editor and New York bureau chief of The Economist.

New York press registration/info: Kevin Krajick 212-854-9729


Nairobi: Nick Nuttall

New Delhi: Abhijit Sinha



March 25, 2010

8:30 a.m. EDT     Video Introduction

Welcome and Introduction by Event Hosts:

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, The Earth Institute
  • Hans Vestberg, Ericsson
  • Matthew Bishop, The Economist

Introduction of Global Sites:  Riz Khan, Al Jazeera English (Master of Ceremonies).

8:55 a.m. EDT SESSION I:  CLIMATE CHANGE – What Would It Take to Complete the Climate Deal?

In recent months, the world saw failed negotiations in Copenhagen, attacks on the validity of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and calls from politicians to open criminal investigations into climate science.  In this context, discussion is likely to go beyond “completion” of a climate deal to delve into the true state of our knowledge; how the world perceives it; and whether, and how, the world can move forward toward real action on climate change.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist

  • Wallace S. Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
  • Mark Cane, G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences and Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University
  • Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University


Event Site Host: Brookings Institution, Tshingua University

Moderator: James Miles, China Correspondent, The Economist


  • Xiao Geng, Director, Brookings Tsinghua Center for Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution (speaking from Beijing)
  • Xu Jintao, Professor of Natural Resource Economics; Head of the Environmental Economics Program in China, Peking University
  • Jiang Kejun, Research Professor and Director, Energy Systems Analysis and Market Analysis Division, Energy Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission
  • Qi Ye, Professor of Environmental Policy and Management; Director; Climate Policy Institute, Tsinghua University

Monaco – HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

New Delhi – Event Site Host: The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

ModeratorSimon Cox, Correspondent, The Economist


  • Nitin Desai, Former UN Under-Secretary-General; Distinguished Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) (TBC)

10:30 a.m. EDT   Break


10:45 a.m. EDT SESSION II:  POVERTY – How Do We Achieve the Millennium Development Goals?

Only five years remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s agreed-upon targets to end extreme poverty and fight hunger and disease. This year is pivotal. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York September 20-22, to boost progress toward the MDGs and agree on a plan of action to achieve them. The prospect of falling short of the goals due to lack of commitment is real, but achieving the MDGs remains feasible with adequate commitment, policies, resources and effort.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

ModeratorMatthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist


  • HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development
  • Glenn Denning, Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University
  • Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson

Nairobi (Special Focus: Is Green Growth the Answer for Africa?)

Event Site Host: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Moderator: Jonathan Ledgard, Correspondent, The Economist


  • James Mwangi , Group Managing Director and CEO, Equity Bank
  • Sylvia Mwichuli Mudasia, Director of Africa Communications, UN Millennium Campaign
  • Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); UN Under-Secretary-General


12:15 p.m. EDT  Lunch

1:30 p.m. EDT     Keynote Address

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Mexico (speaking from Mexico City)


1:58 p.m. EDT     SESSION III:  ECONOMIC RECOVERY – What Does a Green Recovery Look Like?

This session will deal with two colliding questions. First: How do we haul the world out of the current economic recession? Second: Given that economic activity helps drive environmental degradation, how do we make a recovery environmentally sustainable? Discussion may start with shorter-term questions of money and finance, but will quickly move on to longer-term ones on how the world economy fits in with the usage or conservation of  natural resources; systems of energy generation, old and new; and the survival or fall of natural ecosystems.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Riz Khan, Host of the Riz Khan Show, Al Jazeera English

  • Sanjeev Chadha, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo India
  • Geoffrey Heal, Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility and Professor of Economics and Finance, Columbia University
  • Peter  Wierenga, Executive Vice President and CEO,  Philips Research


Event Site Host: The Economist

Moderator: John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist, London


3:55 p.m. EDT     SESSION IV:  How Can an International System Be Built To Deal with Transnational Issues?

4:00 p.m. EDT     Keynote Address

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

The challenges of sustainable development—whether heading off climate change, fighting extreme poverty, stabilizing populations, or ensuring adequate water supplies for human use and crops—must all harness actions from a wide array of institutions. Gaining cooperation among the many stakeholders involved is the toughest challenge of all. In the countdown to achieving the MDGs by 2015, and in the midst of a global economic crisis, the need to strengthen global cooperation has become an emergency rather than simply a matter of urgency. Strengthening global partnerships in the areas of aid, trade, debt relief, and access to affordable medicines and new technologies is critical to prevent a decline in development.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Riz Khan, Host of the Riz Khan Show, Al Jazeera English


  • Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist, New York
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Rajiv Shah, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (TBC)
  • Ann Veneman, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


5:17 p.m. EDT     Wrap-Up: Jeffrey D. Sachs, Hans Vestberg and Matthew Bishop



Kevin Krajick, The Earth Institute

Dayna De Simone, The Economist

Ericsson Corporate Public & Media Relations

Phone: +46 10 719 69 92

The Earth Institute, Columbia University mobilizes the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. Through interdisciplinary research among more than 500 scientists in diverse fields, the Institute is adding to the knowledge necessary for addressing the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. With over two dozen associated degree curricula and a vibrant fellowship program, the Earth Institute is educating new leaders to become professionals and scholars in the growing field of sustainable development. We work alongside governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals to devise innovative strategies to protect the future of our planet.

The Economist, edited in London since 1843, is a weekly international news and business publication offering clear reporting, commentary and analysis on world politics, business, finance, science, technology, culture, society, media and the arts.  The Economist has a North American circulation of 813,000, a global circulation of more than 1.4 million and 4 million monthly unique visitors at The Economist online.  Because of its international editorial perspective, it is read by more of the world’s political and business leaders than any other magazine.

Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally. Over 1,000 networks in more than 175 countries utilize its network equipment, and 40 percent of all mobile calls are made through its systems. It is one of the few companies worldwide that can offer end-to-end solutions for all major mobile communication standards. Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology and sustainable business solutions. More than 80,000 employees around the world generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876, with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASD

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