Los Angeles, California, USA, 1 October 2009 - Key representatives from the Aga Khan Development Network joined 1,200 participants from more than 70 states, provinces and countries at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2, held on September 29-October 2, 2009.
The Summit is hosted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to deepen and broaden cooperative strategies by subnational governments and regional leaders that can immediately grow a green economy, increase the use of sustainable clean energy, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in advance of United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen. The Summit centers on the critical role of cooperative partnerships among subnational governments, organizations and private industry to promote collaborative actions focused on climate solutions leading to the next global agreement on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2009.
Experts estimate that 50 to 80 percent of actions needed to reach the United Nations climate goals will be implemented at the state and local level. At the opening plenary session entitled “A Call to Action: On the Road to Copenhagen” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California urged collective action.
“Ultimately, in the long run, the issue of climate change and how we adapt to that change will come about from the bottom to the top. It is not a top to the bottom process. It is our ability to galvanize our citizens, to see that their economic and environmental futures are dependent upon action. It is time for us to stop waiting for someone else to take the lead and for us to take the lead. We can do this. This is something, as I said in the beginning, that will change our lives, how we live together and how the international community lives together.” David Boyer, Senior Director of the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment addressed the opening plenary on behalf of His Highness the Aga Khan.
Dr. Boyer remarked “The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) works hand in hand on a non-denominational basis with poor and rural communities in 24 countries in Asia and Africa. We seek to increase knowledge and mobilize the energies of these communities towards economic, social and environmental development that can help build lasting sustainability and resilience. AKDN works with local, state and national governments in many parts of the world to achieve these objectives. It is these communities that are already on the front lines of climate change, be it salt water intrusion that threatens agriculture and community success in Bangladesh; rapidly melting glaciers in Tajikistan which causes increased flooding and affects water supplies; or prolongs drought in Kenya where food security and famine hang in the balance.”
Also representing His Highness the Aga Khan were Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, President of the Aga Khan Council for the USA; Iqbal Noor Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF USA); and Ashraf Ramji, Vice Chairman, AKF USA National Committee.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a major sponsor of the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2. His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the AKDN, met with Governor Schwarzenegger during his visit to the United States in April 2008. Both expressed interest in collaborating in areas of education, technology and the environment.
The AKDN has been working on an integrated approach to sustainable development for over four decades, to raise incomes, promote quality education and healthcare, improve the quality of life and expand opportunities for individuals and communities in Africa and Asia. The rationale for integrating environmental and ecological concerns into development activities arises from AKDN’s experience which demonstrates that economic, social and cultural factors all affect environmental issues. Solutions to environmental problems cannot be implemented in isolation from the problems of human habitats.
All of the environment-related activities undertaken by the AKDN are therefore integrated into other development activities such as healthcare, education, cultural revitalization and economic development.
Co-hosting the event were several U.S. Governors: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, New York Governor David A. Paterson, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Summit partners include the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Environment Programme. Partnerships formed at the Summit will help expand opportunities among states and provinces that complement existing efforts to further explore specific mitigation and adaption strategies.
For more information, contact:
Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A.
1825 K Street, NW #901
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 203-0838
Aga Khan Council for USA
Phone: (206) 910-9601
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) (www.akdn.org) was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. It is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$500 million.
The AKDN’s Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment is dedicated to practical solutions to environmental problems. Its major programs focus on the link between the scarcity of natural resources and poverty in the developing world; the preservation of fragile mountain ecosystems; animal protection; and initiatives in environmental education. The Fund will concentrate its activities in six main areas: environmental education; natural resource management in fragile zones; nature parks and wildlife reserves; environmentally and culturally appropriate tourism infrastructure; environmental health; and research.