A Celebration of the Life of Maurice Strong
"This is not just a technical issue. Everybody's actions are motivated by their inner life, their moral, spiritual and ethical values. Global agreements will be effective when they are rooted in the individual commitment of people, which arises from their own inner life." Maurice Strong
On the 27th of January friends of Maurice Strong met in Ottawa to celebrate his life. Opening the event Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose late father picked Strong to set up the Canadian International Development Agency in 1968, called him "a truly great citizen of Canada and citizen of the world" who has left behind an incredible legacy as "a brilliant businessman, devoted environmentalist, an inspirational philanthropist."
Also speaking were former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, author John Ralston Saul, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
Also messages from former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, who called Strong the "father of the world environmental movement."
Maurice like will probably not be seen again he headed the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm in 1972, set up the UN's environment program, and led the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. But so much more helping address the famine in Africa, the problems in North Korea, reorganizing the UN.
From Maurice's closing statement in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference:
"So there is reason to hope in the work it has done -- in the programmes it has adopted -- in the awareness it has expressed of our global unity -- in the affirmation that the problems of the human environment can only be resolved if we place man at the center of our concerns -- and in the conviction that we must liberate ourselves from the outdated and outworn habit of the past.
Mr. President, I believe that, as we leave now, we must do so with determination to build on the foundations we have laid here in Stockholm. If we do not, then this Conference will have been a brief flash, a meteor burning its way through the blackness of space.
And I believe that we will build together -- that we will continue together to work for the achievement of the larger, richer future which the collective will and energies of mankind can shape -- that we will together continue our long journey towards a creative and dynamic harmony for all life on this Planet.
I believe we will because this Conference has demonstrated that the United Nations is at the heart of our turbulent and troubled world. It has demonstrated that, if Governments given it their support and co-operation, it can and will play a vital role in bringing harmony between man and the natural systems, which support this life.
And if it does, perhaps then it is not too much to hope that it can and will fulfill the hope of the Charter and inspire a peaceful and just world community in which diverse states and people co-operate for the common good of all mankind."