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Dialogue Needed to Overcome Conflict,
Says Environmental Leader from Ecuador
Different cultures perceive conflict in different ways; some avoid conflict, others create it. In Latin America the absence of dialogue is one of the most frequent sources of conflict and an impediment to sustainable development, according to Yolanda Kakabadse, who addressed members of the environmental policy community and the incoming class of AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows on 14 September.
President of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and executive president of the Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, Kakabadse delivered her remarks at the second annual Robert C. Barnard Environmental Lecture. The lecture honors Washington, D.C., lawyer Robert Barnard for his contributions to environmental and public health law.
In her talk, "Sustainable Development: Managing Conflict," Kakabadse explained that social and environmental conflicts in Latin America are usually related to two factors: property and land ownership and the management of natural resources. "Dialogue is a powerful participative tool to address social and environmental conflicts," says Kakabadse, who until January 2000 had been Ecuador's minister for the environment. "Dialogue is the key to sustainable development because it strengthens the process of a more balanced development. Without the involvement of leaders and policymakers, not much can be achieved."
Ms. Kakabadse's work with the environmental conservation movement officially began in 1979, when she was appointed executive director of Fundación Natura, a non-governmental organization she started. Fundación Natura has assumed a position of leadership in Ecuador and the international community on issues relating to environmental education and development policies.
Ms. Kakabadse is a member of the board of directors of the World Resources Institute and the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Program and The Golden Ark Order, bestowed by Prince Bernard of The Netherlands.
The lecture was endowed by the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton to honor Barnard, who was recognized as the honored guest at the 14 September event. Barnard is counsel to the firm. His career as an attorney spans more than 50 years.
The lecture, held in the AAAS auditorium, was attended by more than 100 people, including representatives of the Washington environmental policy community and the 2000-2001 AAAS Fellows. AAAS offers eight science policy fellowship programs that place postdoctoral and mid-career scientists and engineers in legislative and executive branch offices. The fellowships deal with Congress, defense policy, global stewardship, diplomacy, risk policy, environment, and technology policy.
For information on AAAS Science and Technology Fellowship Programs, call 202-326-6700 or visit the fellowship Web site at fellowships.aaas.org.