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2010 personnes participent à l'appel des consciences
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Muhammad Yunus Bangladesh

Pourquoi je participe à l'appel des consciences

Nous avons besoin de créer une dynamique pour faire en sorte que tout le monde comprenne facilement les résolutions que nous devons prendre.


There is a famous native American proverb that says: "We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Currently we are realizing that the course of industrialization and the age of high mass consumption have placed a burden on the fragile home we call Earth that it can hardly bear. More than 80 percent of the Earth’s natural forests already have been destroyed. Climate change is basically a man-made phenomenon. We have nobody to blame but us.

Impact of climate change is affecting agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and people’s livelihoods. My country Bangladesh is a prime victim of this process.

Most urgent task at the moment is to define a collective destination for us as a human society for our survival and ensuring the safety of our planet. I define this destination with three zeros; zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emission.  I hope others will join me to reach these three zeros by 2050.

To achieve these three zeros the world needs four things: 1. Harness the energy and creativity of the youth; 2. Use the power of technology; 3. Involve all social, economic, and political organizations, particularly all businesses to create social businesses to solve human problems. and, 4. ensure human rights and good governance.

At the mind boggling exponential growth of technology, it is possible to achieve these three zeros much earlier than we think. The main reason why it is not happening now is because the emerging technology is not directed towards these three zeros. Technology today is in the hands of the money-makers and war-makers. They are not directing it to solving the problems of the world. If the technological expansion is directed towards solving our problems of poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, population management, universal healthcare, equitable distribution of wealth, it would be so much easier to achieve. We need to put a new driver to drive the technological innovations and applications forward. The new driver will be the social business entrepreneur. His exclusive mission would be to o create new frontiers of technology to end our problems. The youth, backed up by good governance and guaranteed human rights, can take the lead in making this happen.


An historical chance to make the paradigm shift


What we have in front of us is an unprecedented opportunity, and historical chance to make the paradigm shift that humanity desperately needs. We need it because science tells us we do, because our consciences tell us we can’t do without it. 2015 has already demonstrated a continuous building up of momentum towards something big: an historical UN conference on climate change that has the potential to redefine humanity’s destiny.

Earlier this year, following on from Davos, many global businesses come together to firstly call on governments to agree to a net zero carbon goal by 2050; investors are being more proactive in disclosing the carbon footprint of their portfolios, choosing to decarbonize their investments, and some are going as far as publicly announcing that they are divesting from fossil fuels; During their last meeting, the G7 sent an unmistakable message of commitment, to decarbonize the economy by the end of the century; But this is not all. People of all faiths have loudly and clearly welcomed the strong message coming from the Papal Encyclical on ecology in June, calling on world leadership to urgently take action on climate change. We can’t ask for any clearer sign that the time is ready, that the time is now.

The paradigm shift that we are needing is a radical change that requires us to move away from the excessive and selfish lifestyle we have been led to believe was the most satisfying one, but that is in reality based on egoistic and unjust exploitation of resources and of human capital, to a lifestyle based on selflessness, of fair and just opportunities, that can lead us to what I have been calling a global destination.

We know that continuing business as usual is not an option anymore:  it is as unfair as it is unjust, and left unchecked will take us to an irreversible process of self-destruction.  But it is not too late. We have the opportunity to act; and many businesses are already demonstrating their willingness to do so.  Additionally, each one of us can make a difference in our daily lives, knowing that small action makes a big difference. And collectively, we can ask our representatives to take a bold stand later this year when they will meet to decide on a crucial agreement that can take us on track to transition to a low carbon economy.

In particular, this agreement must be both long-term in its aspiration of setting a decarbonization –or net zero – goal; as well as have regular short-term review cycles to ensure that progress is on track. The agreement must also underpin the just transition to a low carbon economy and green jobs creation by being grounded in sound equity principles. Achieving this net zero goal is the only just, rational, and humane way forward.

 It is sensible because it will revert the trend of economic development and investment being coupled with carbon emissions; it will present an opportunity to allow for local entrepreneurship to flourish, by stimulating creative transformative initiatives that will provide the ground for a sustainable and just development.

I am proposing a comprehensive global destination in terms of three zeros. These three zeros are to be achieved by 2050: zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emission. All global activities should be framed around achieving these three goals. Each global player may publish report on each country each year on the progress made on getting closer to achieving each zero.

These zeros can be reached with four basic strategies. They are:

First, by unleashing the creative power and commitment of the youth. Today's youth has the power to bring dramatic changes in the world, if we encourage them and facilitate their initiatives to play their role. Present generation of young people is the forerunner of the generation of most powerful generation in human history because of the enormous technology in their hands. We have to get them engaged in creating the world they wish to live in, and pass on to the next generation.

Second strategy would be to focus on technological innovations to solve human problems. Combining the force of youth with the force of technology can become unbeatable. But unfortunately technology has always remained under the command of money-makers and war-makers. We need to bring in a new class of players on the playing field of technology who will create new technology exclusively for solving social problems and adapt the existing technology for the same purpose, without any thought of making personal money out of this. The sooner the socially committed players take charge of technology, the faster the world will reach the three zeros.

This brings us to the third strategy, building up social businesses by mobilizing creative power to solve long-standing complicated social, economic, and environmental problems in sustainable ways. Social business is a new variety of business which delinks itself from any desire to make personal profit out these businesses. They are mission driven businesses. They are non-dividend companies exclusively devoted to solving human problems. I have been creating and promoting this type of business around the world with great results.

Even as we tackle the climate challenge, we must also help bring empowering energy services to the 1.2 billion people who lack access to electricity and the almost three billion who cook on polluting, unhealthy stoves. A comprehensive and compassionate response to climate change requires us to help the world’s poorest gain access to sustainable energy solutions so that they can improve their lives while avoiding the dirty energy path that developed countries followed.

I created Grameen Shakti (energy) almost 20 years ago – to bring clean solar power to light and communication technology to the villages across Bangladesh. Our efforts exceeded everyone’s expectations, with the millionth solar home system installed in 2013. Grameen Shakti’s work continues to expand – in the next two years we anticipate reaching a second million families with these life-transforming systems. But there is much more work to be done to reach the UN’s global goal of reaching universal access to energy, hopefully they mean clean energy, by 2030. Building a green economy by breaking free from fossil fuel addiction is the smartest and most efficient way to create new engines of sustainable growth and job creation for the next generations.

Fourth strategy is to ensure good governance in government, global governance, business world, and civil society; and uphold human rights all along the way, without fail.

It is about creating a healthier society, built on the recognition of a moral obligation to let selflessness to come into full play, and restrain selfishness and business as usual,  to initiate a process of transformational change. We are the generation that is responsible for put in motion this trans-generational change.

It is our moral responsibility to act. We must act because we care.

Professor and founder

Grameen Shakti

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of both social business and microcredit, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, the Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time.”

In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
Professor Muhammad Yunus is the recipient of 55 honorary degrees from universities across 20 countries. He has received 112 awards from 26 countries including state honours from 10 countries. He is one of only seven individuals to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and the United States Congressional Gold Medal. Other notable awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984), World Food Prize (1998), The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord (1998), Sydney Peace Prize (1998) and the Seoul Peace Prize (2006). In Bangladesh he  got President's Award in 1978 for introducing an innovative organisation in agriculture. He was awarded the Independence Day Award in 1987, by the President of Bangladesh for the outstanding contribution in rural development. This is the highest civilian national award of Bangladesh.

Professor Yunus was chosen by Wharton School of Business as one of ‘The 25 Most influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years’. AsiaWeek (Hong Kong) selected him as one of ‘Twenty Great Asians (1975-1995).” Ananda Bazaar Patrika (India) selected Professor Yunus as one of “Ten Great Bengalis of the Century (1900-1999).”

In 2006, Time Magazine listed Professor Yunus under “60 years of Asian Heroes” as one the top 12 business leaders. In 2008, in an open online poll, Yunus was voted the 2nd topmost intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (United States). In 2010, The New Statesman (UK) listed him as one of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures”.

Professor Yunus has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, Hardtalk on BBC and The Simpsons. Financial Times chose Professor Muhammed Yunus as one of six Finance Pioneers. In the March 31, 2015 issue in an article entitled "Business Pioneers in Finance" Professor Yunus has been placed alongside Warren Buffett, Amadeo Giannini, Henry Kravis,  J.P Morgan, and Mayer Amschel Rothschild as greatest business finance pioneers of all time. He has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, Newsweek and Forbes Magazine.

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