Global Dialogue

In a time, where conflicts and lack of understanding for different perspectives mark the events of the day worldwide, the successful dialogue takes on an extraordinary role. "The word dialogue originates from the Greek Language and signifies "through" (dia) and "sense of the word" which is the meaning (logos)." " Should you have ever experienced a real dialogue, then you have seen and felt the potential of this specific methodology of mutual understanding leading to the discovery of new ground and furthermore to the opening of new horizons.

  The 12th Global Dialogue

Freshwater makes up less than three percent of water on earth. The renewability of water is far more limited than it is theoretically for sun and wind as energy sources.

Water, a scarce resource, is one of the most important strategic elements needed in sustainable development to maintain human life on the blue planet Earth. People have been struggling for generations in the Middle East region over rights to water, a resource more precious to them than oil. The perpetual violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has much more to do with water rights than the international public realises. Water is already in short supply in California, one of the United States' most populous states; Texas is facing shortages as well. In other parts of the world, conflicts over water have been commonplace for a long time. These conflicts could well escalate in coming years.

The United Nations has declared 2003 the International Year of Freshwater, thereby spotlighting one of the most vital issues facing mankind's future. Water was and still is mankind's elixir of life, attributed with mythological power.

More than one billion people survive today without having access to clean drinking water and 6,000 children die each day from diseases carried by unclean drinking water. The United States is handling the problem in a way similar to its energy consumption, exploiting reserves regardless of global consequences and individual disasters taking place elsewhere. Germany has few water reserves of its own compared to other countries and even its water quality barely gets average ranking in the UN World Water Development Report.

Water reserves cannot be conjured up by improving policies, reducing subsidies or lowering taxes, but improvements can certainly be made to water quality and consumption efficiency, and regional disparity regarding access to water can be evened out.

The 12th Global Dialogue of the Hannover International Forum on Sustainability, an active legacy of the world's largest international series of seminars on sustainability, launched on the occasion of Expo 2000, is now contributing to the urgent challenge of placing the United Nations International Year of Freshwater at the centre of public
interest. This is also a contribution towards effectively realising a global code of conduct regarding water, meant to prevent it from becoming a source of social, economic or national conflict or possibly war in coming decades.

The 12th Global Dialogue offers participants an international dialogue forum with those who are now shaping practical solutions for the future. It is an exchange of experience, an idea market, and a place where world cultures, science, economics, politics and civil society meet and grapple with each other.

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  The Global Dialogue An Overview

Global Dialogue in EXPO City Hannover
– the way it works –

Global Dialogue was developed for EXPO 2000 in co-operation with numerous internationally active partner organisations. The task of this series of conferences is to offer an international programme of communication and dialogue. Participants are all those who have designed and initiated solutions for the future in the present day – projects for sustainable development that meet the criteria of United Nations Agenda 21.

These participants initiate a dialogue between world cultures, between rich and poor, and between global players and organised civil society. Scientists, representatives of the media and creative artists meet political and economic decision-makers; they are joined by practitioners of sustainability.

For this effort to be successful, the dramaturgy of the occasion must be clearly different from other well-known events of this kind – Global Dialogue cannot be the sum of many (or few) monologues. All participants are given a genuine opportunity to take part in the talks. This is quite different from the usual kind of scenario or expectations associated with other conferences and panel discussions of note. There is no guarantee the event will be successful. This depends substantially on the participants and their willingness to keep the dialogue, not themselves, at the centre of attention.

Global Dialogue participants are all those who attend the scheduled programme events desiring to take an active part in the discussions. Guest speakers are public figures who are highly knowledgeable on the topics at hand; they have been invited by the organisers to present a diversity of opinions and ideas and to make sure the dialogue continually progresses. They take the initiative in talks, keep the debate from going in circles and are not afraid of controversy. They introduce important arguments to the forum. Each guest speaker introduces the topic in which he or she is competent and presents central arguments in short and precise form.

Moderators introduce the themes of the dialogue forum, explain rules and make sure discussions proceed in a fair way. They point out frequent repetition, keep attention focused on the central aspects of the dialogue and make sure the discussion remains structured. They are reserved about expressing their own opinions.

The dialogue fora begin with the Global Focus talk. One or two guest speakers with an international reputation on an issue discuss its full range and create interest in the fora to follow, encouraging undecided listeners at the event to take part in dialogues. The guest speakers also set up the conference's culture of dialogue and are important in giving it shape.

Hannover Global Dialogue's objectives are to promote listening and understanding, learning and co-operation.

In particular, Global Dialogue wants to facilitate mutual efforts between those who will shape the future in north and south, and to contribute to co-operation between different cultures.