Synergies or trade-offs? Balancing environment and development

20 February 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Public event
Streamed live online

Contributing chair

James Cameron @jamesogradycam - Chair of the Board, Overseas Development Institute


Zlatko Lagumdzija @LagumdzijaZ - Former Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Wim Kok - Former Prime Minister of The Netherlands

Marta ForestiManaging Director, ODI


Despite declarations that this is the age of sustainable development, there is a widespread view that economic development and environmental sustainability are incompatible. Policymakers struggle with the apparent contradictions between reducing inequality (perhaps by improving food security and raising incomes) and environmental sustainability.

At the same time, climate change will have a negative impact on development, not least by altering the frequency, intensity, duration, timing and location of natural disasters – and ODI research shows that in 2016 over 24 million people were newly displaced by sudden-onset climate-related hazards, such as typhoons and floods.

Current economic, political and social systems, national and global, seem incapable of facilitating and encouraging the necessary changes to tackle growing challenges such as pollution, environmental degradation and climate change, along with growing inequality.

This event, held in partnership with Club de Madrid, discusses the need for acceptance of responsibility and accountability by political leaders and greater recognition by the wider public of their responsibility, and offers recommendations to build momentum and overcome resistance to the necessary changes in values and systems.


James Cameron is an international lawyer, policy adviser and entrepreneur. He is a partner in a new enterprise called Systemiq, offering a service to create system level changes through mobilising capital and talent, and he is the first Executive Fellow at Yale. He has founded, and been on the founding Boards of numerous organisations designed to use international law to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development. He was also formerly a member of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group, and Infrastructure UK's advisory board.

Zlatko Lagumdzija has worked as a Professor of Management Information Systems within the School of Economics as well as the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering School at the University of Sarajevo since 1989. He is a former Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, member of Club de Madrid , member of World Academy of Art and Science, founder of Shared Societies and Values Sarajevo Foundation. He served in the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Prime Minister and Acting Prime Minister, two times as Deputy Prime Minister and two times as Minister of Foreign Affairs in various periods between 1992 and 2015. President of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SDP) from 1997 until 2014 as a leader of governing coalitions or as a leader of opposition. Member of Presidency of Party of European Socialists from 2009  until 2016. Elected as a Member of Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina six times from 1996 to 2012. 

Wim Kok became both a member of the Lower House of Parliament and the leader of the Labour Party (PvdA) in 1986. From 1986 to 1989 he was Leader of the opposition in the Dutch Parliament; in 1989 he was elected one of the deputy chairmen of the Socialist International. From 1986 to 1994 he served as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. Mr. Kok was elected Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs of the Netherlands in 1994 and was reelected for a second term in 1998, positions which he held until 2002. After having stepped down as Prime Minister he served as a supervisory board member in a large number of companies such as ING Group, Royal Dutch Shell, TNT, KLM, Stork and Post NL and as member of boards of trustees of a large number of national and international not-for-profit organisations. In 2003 and 2004 Mr. Kok advised the European Council and Commission on revitalizing the European economy.  

Marta Foresti leads ODI’s portfolio on governance, security, climate and migration. Her interests include the political economy of development and reform, migration and human mobility, natural resource management, conflict and fragility. She has over 20 years of research, policy formulation and delivery, as well as management experience and has an interest in applied social research methodologies and policy evaluation. Before joining ODI in 2006, Marta was a senior policy advisor in the Department of Development Policy of the Italian Treasury and Head of the Learning and Impact Assessment team at Save the Children UK and at Amnesty International. She has extensive country experience in West Africa, South, South East Asia and several European countries.