Speech by Minister of State Pieper held at the Third Future Dialogue,New Delhi,24 September 2011

24.09.2011 - Speech

Mr Löscher, CEO of Siemens,
Mr Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society,
Executive Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be in New Delhi today and to participate in the Third Future Dialogue. I would like to thank the organizers, above all you, Peter Löscher, and you, Mr Gruss, for this extremely valuable initiative.

I am convinced of the importance of this dialogue. As Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Indeed, if there is co-operation between major actors in science, business and politics, we are much better positioned to deal with the challenges of a changing world. And in order to co-operate smoothly and solve the problems we are facing, a close dialogue between the players from all three of these fields is necessary.

The format of the “Future dialogue” already proved successful on the two previous occasions in Berlin and Beijing and I am confident that our discussions today will be equally valuable and forward-looking. We need dialogue more than ever before – between executives and researchers, and among policy-makers and citizens.

This year, the organizers could not have chosen a more topical theme or a more suitable venue.

I believe that the sustainable management of ever larger cities is one of the key challenges of our times. Already big cities are becoming major cities, while major cities are developing into mega cities. This has created a number of demanding challenges:

What infrastructure do these cities need and how are we going to provide the necessary roads, urban transport systems, airports, ports and communication networks?

How can we meet the ever increasing demand for energy without sacrificing the environment? How do we provide mobility without accelerating climate change?

How do we provide excellent, yet affordable medical care?

What will the buildings of the future look like?

These are just a few of the challenges ahead of us.

Here in Asia, with the two most populous countries in the world – India and China – these challenges are probably more urgent than anywhere else. Therefore, I am especially pleased that this conference is taking place here in New Delhi, the capital of one of these giants and a mega city in its own right. As soon as we step out of this wonderful venue, we cannot fail to see the challenges in front of us.

Asian wisdom teaches us that huge challenges come with big opportunities. And I believe that this certainly applies to the sustainable development of cities. Already today, German companies are working on these issues. I am confident that solutions “Made in Germany” will continue to remain at the forefront of technological development. And I am aware that in India and other emerging economies, too, many companies are active in this field. This means that there is a lot of scope for co-operation among businesses from our two countries. We should tap this resource.

Governments have an important role to play.

It is their task to set basic conditions and a legal framework which is conducive to sustainable development. Just let me mention two examples.

In Germany, we have decided to move towards an energy mix dominated by renewable energy sources. We will thus phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and aim at becoming one of most energy-efficient economies in the world. We are setting parameters and incentives so that the production of renewable energies is economically viable.

E-mobility is another of our priorities. The national e-mobility development plan has set ambitious goals. We are creating the conditions so that by 2020 there will be one million electric-powered vehicles on German roads. By 2030 that number is to increase to six million.

My ministry, the Federal Foreign Office, is also actively involved in the discussion on global issues which are relevant to the sustainable management of growing cities. Through a multitude of different initiatives, we are trying to foster international dialogue among important partners.

We are actively participating in the deliberations on global issues at the United Nations and other international fora. Germany is among the agenda-setters in many key fields. Let me just mention climate change and energy policy.

In this context, India is an indispensable partner for us. The challenges of our time can only be mastered in collaboration with India. Bilaterally and in international bodies, Germany and India are closely coordinating their strategies.

Germany and India are strategic partners. We jointly shoulder international responsibility and we are working together closely in the United Nations Security Council, of which both our countries have been members since 1 January 2011. As partners in the G4, we are both seeking a reform of the Security Council which would adapt the Council to today’s geopolitical conditions.

The first Indo-German intergovernmental consultations, which took place in New Delhi at the end of May this year, marked another highlight in the bilateral dialogue and they clearly demonstrated the close and profound relations between our two countries.

In order to illustrate how highly we value dialogue between all walks of life, but especially among scientists from our two countries, let me mention some of the other highlights of my visit to India.

As you know, the Future Dialogue is part of the programme of the Year of Germany in India “Germany and India 2011-2012 – Infinite Opportunities”, which Mr. Löscher and I opened yesterday. The 15-month programme of “Germany and India 2011-2012” offers a unique chance to highlight our partnership with India in all fields and for Germany to present itself as an innovative and creative partner with a lot to offer in the fields of science and sustainable development. We hope that the series of cultural, scientific and economic events we have planned will bring Germans and Indians closer together, will let us identify common ground and be a basis for closer co-operation on vital issues.

Yesterday, I also participated in the inauguration ceremony of the Indo-German Max Planck Centre for Research in Lipids. I had talks with some German organizations regarding the establishment of a German House for Science and Innovation here in New Delhi. This house will bring together all German science organizations under one roof, thus making them even more accessible to their Indian partners. It will thus also be much easier to organize events with a wide range of stakeholders and develop comprehensive approaches.

My vision is that this house will unite German and Indian partners, entrepreneurs and scientists who are interested in sharing new, innovative technologies and in developing solutions to present and future challenges.

I would like to conclude by thanking the organizers for this wonderful opportunity to participate in the Future Dialogue. The issues we will debate today will also have to be discussed in other fora, as well as among governments. I am convinced that scientists, politicians and business people from Germany and India will continue to make important and meaningful contributions to that debate.

Thank you very much.

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