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WECF celebrated 15 year anniversary with conference “Innovation for sustainability – the crisis as opportunity”

Jun 15th, 2009 |

Critical analyses and inspiring ideas about the fundamental causes of the current economic crisis and how this may create an opportunity for a more sustainable world were presented by experts in the fields of economics, politics, science and technology during the debates and speeches at WECF’s Anniversary in The Hague.


Noreena Hertz, opening the WECF Anniversary with her key note speech

The emphasis of the debate was on stimulating discussion on the initiatives been taken by women and men in the field of innovation. The panelists presented examples from the Netherlands and from WECF partner organisations in Western and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.

Our afternoon debates addressed the following questions: How can initiatives taken by pioneers at the local level be translated to the national and international level. How will they lead to increased sustainability in the fields of energy and water, agriculture and consumer products?
Financial representatives suggested how greater investment can support and stimulate local economies and initiatives. Government representatives and politicians showed new ways in which barriers can be removed and people can be stimulated. Andy Schroeter, Director of Sunlabob, winner of the Sasakawa sustainability award (UNEP) told how even the poorest can afford light from solar energy. Special attention was given to the role of women in their participation in sustainable innovation.

The keynote speech was given by Professor Noreena Hertz, the well known economist and author, from the University of Cambridge, who is visiting Professor at Erasmus University of Rotterdam. She presented a critical analysis of the roots of the current economic crisis, and ways out towards a sustainable economy. With a special focus on the anger felt by a great deal of the public at the moment: “If people are denied prerequisites – they cannot take responsibility”.

Minister Cramer

Minister Cramer trying out the Electric Think! car outside the theatre

The Netherlands Minister of Environment Jacqueline Cramer presented her vision on how innovation can create a sustainable economy and ended her speech with a special note on what Marie Kranendonk and WECF have achieved over the last 15 years.

Looking Back and Looking Forward:  at the end of the day WECF said farewell to her first president and founder Marie Kranendonk and introduced the new President Christine van Weizsaecker.
The closure of the WECF anniversary was dedicated to the work of WECF founder and president of many years, mrs Marie Kranendonk, who has been the driving force behind the international network the past 15 years. To thank her, she was appointed Honorary President of WECF for the rest of her life.

For more information please get in contact with Chantal van den Bossche at


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