HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan,
Yuli Ismartono [time 32:24]
13th February, 2007
Welcome to another edition of THE LEADERS. I am Yuli Ismartono from AsiaViews, in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, to chat with His Royal Highness, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
Prince Hassan is in Islamabad to chair a Roundtable on 'Voices from Asia: Towards a Process for Cooperation and Security.'
There is no better person to exchange views on a number of broad but important topics than with Prince Hassan, who is involved on issues ranging from human rights, the environment, empowering the poor and inter-faith dialogue.
Yuli Ismartono: Your Highness, thank you for being with us today. Allow me first to congratulate you on your being named 'Champion of the Earth' for 2007 by the UN Environment Program. While we're on the subject of the environment, as you know there is currently great debate on the issue of climate change and global warming. What is your view on this?
Prince Hassan: The flip side of Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' is the demographic change, the climate refugees and of course, the Meadows Report is now 30 years old, up to 80 percent accuracy on its computer model of effects on climate change and the complex of industrialization. I want to say there is a historic view that has developed from the beginning of the industrial revolution, recently emphasized at the Paris conference. I agree with this.
What is of concern to me is when Mrs. Bundtland presented the Earth Report, there was no mention of the 40 million people living under the trees of Amazonia. Today, when we speak about cities in Europe like London being affected or the Dutch coast by the rising tide, my question is basically, where are these people going to go? When we see an increase of HIV/AIDS, we see the possibility of greater interest in Sudan, a large bio-diversity in the Sudan, and my question is: are all these people going to be forced to migrate and if so, on what circumstances, what conditions to the environment, to the local population and indeed, what complementarity will we see between territoriality, identity and migration.
YI: So you concur with this warning?
Prince Hassan: I concur entirely but my view is not a question of a survival of the fittest, rather, it should be going back to the humanist view of Bertrand Russell and the beginning of the 20th century, that international resources will have to be with economic natural resources as well as human resources on the basis of rediscovering the common good. Each region has common denominators and globally we have to meet between regional commons and global commons.
YI: There is a view, however, especially in the developing world: 'why should we sacrifice a lot at the behest of the developed world which has already spent their resources?'
Prince Hassan: Well, if we're talking about Africa, for example, I think it's the least polluting continent, as has been proven. As far as the developing world is concerned, nobody is concerned about Bangladesh, which, after all, has been obliged to turn to aqua-culture from traditional agriculture. Two-thirds of the country are under water, they've changed the whole pattern of their livelihood. Huge convulsion is taking place in Indonesia and the countries of Southeast Asia as we speak, particularly with rising floods.
The tsunami, we warned as a humanitarian commission, in the 1980s on the need for as an early warning device. But sadly, with the exception of ASEAN, we now have an energy charter, we now have a social charter, now we see the early beginnings of this in South Asia and the search for a stability charter. There's been little emphasis being given in the oil rich countries, to the fact that 100 million job opportunities had to be created in the West Asia and Africa regions. I hope that these timely warnings of climate change will bring some sense to the regions.
It seems that the hot political issues, Palestine, the question of Iraq, the question of Afghantistan bring more expenditure on weapons, more expenditures from returns of oil on normally sanction issues, than a proper focus on the cohesion of a particular region.