Philanthropists huddle for more sustainable world
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.