Phi­lan­thropists hud­dle for more sus­tain­able world

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By YAN DONGJIE in Honolulu, Hawaii yan­dongjie@chi­

More than 130 of the world’s phi­lan­thropists gath­ered in Honolulu, Hawaii, to dis­cuss en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and the role of phi­lan­thropists in sus­tain­abil­ity.

The East-West Sus­tain­abil­ity Sum­mit’s theme this year is Unit­ing Global Phi­lan­thropy: In­spir­ing Ac­tion for the Planet.

Co-or­ga­nized by the EastWest Cen­ter, an in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tion for pub­lic diplomacy based in Hawaii, and the China Global Phi­lan­thropy In­sti­tute (CGPI), the sum­mit is the first global phi­lan­thropists meet­ing that views “sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment” as the main con­cern.

“When the global phi­lan­thropists put our re­sources to­gether, we get a big­ger chance to suc­ceed and play a lead­ing role in the process of pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and build­ing a sus­tain­able world,” said He Qiaonv, founder of the Beijing Qiaonv Foun­da­tion and a joint pres­i­dent of the sum­mit., said on Tues­day.

He and her foun­da­tion have been unit­ing com­pa­nies, en­trepreneurs, gov­ern­ments and think tanks in the cause of char­ity.

The bird-con­ser­va­tion project Free Fly­ing Wings led by Qiaonv, which is sup­port­ing 146 habi­tats for mi­gra­tory birds, is an out­come of the East-West Phi­lan­thropy Fo­rum, an an­nual meet­ing of global phi­lan­thropists started in 2014.

“Our par­tic­i­pants are deeply com­mit­ted to forg­ing new part­ner­ships and tak­ing ac­tion to im­prove hu­man well-be­ing by pre­serv­ing our planet’s nat­u­ral re­sources,” said Carol Fox, the East-West Cen­ter di­rec­tor of spe­cial projects and a sum­mit or­ga­nizer.

In Septem­ber 2015, the world agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment, set­ting 17 goals, in­clud­ing erad­i­cat­ing poverty and hunger; pro­vid­ing af­ford­able and clean en­ergy; build­ing sus­tain­able cities and com­mu­ni­ties, re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion; and ur­gent ac­tion on cli­mate change.

“As the third re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth, phi­lan­thropy plays an im­por­tant role in the process of achiev­ing sus­tain­abil­ity, and the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween East­ern and West­ern phi­lan­thropists will gen­er­ate a greater power,” said Ma Wei­hua, chair­man of the board of CGPI.

Wang Zhenyao, pres­i­dent of the fo­rum and the in­sti­tute, added that “get­ting united” not only means co­op­er­a­tion be­tween phi­lan­thropists but with gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies, which re­spec­tively take dif­fer­ent roles.

“Govern­ment leads, plans and in­vests; com­pa­nies add com­mer­cial val­ues which can make phi­lan­thropy sus­tain­able; and phi­lan­thropists con­trib­ute to the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fi­nan­cial sup­port as well as pro­mote the ac­tion of govern­ment and com­pa­nies,” Wang said.

Wang said that phi­lan­thropy in China be­gan only about 10 years ago, and Chi­nese phi­lan­thropists can learn from their West­ern coun­ter­parts.

West­ern gov­ern­ments usu­ally have de­tailed reg­u­la­tions for charities, which help avoid pos­si­ble con­flicts or prob­lems, but China still lacks sim­i­lar rules, ac­cord­ing to Wang.

“Chi­nese phi­lan­thropists, how­ever, have strong com­mu­ni­cat­ing and learn­ing will­ing­ness, strong in­ten­tion of co­op­er­at­ing, and the abil­ity of find­ing com­mon in­ter­ests and co­op­er­a­tion po­ten­tial,” said Wang.

Wang Zhenyao, pres­i­dent of the East-West Phi­lan­thropy Fo­rum and China Global Phi­lan­thropy In­sti­tute.

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