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Alexander  Likhotal

Alexander Likhotal

President of Green Cross International & Former Adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev

Biography

Alexander Likhotal served as adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev for many years and is currently the President of Geneva-based Green Cross International. He is a member of the Club of Rome, World Academy of Art and Science, Library of Alexandria Board of Trustees, the Climate Change Task Force, the International Council for the Earth Charter, the Board of Directors of the Universal Forum of Cultures, Adviser to the Club of Madrid, and has launched internationally acclaimed initiatives such as the Earth Dialogues Forum and Green Cross International's global campaign for the Right to Water. Read More >

He has utilized his political acumen in swaying governments about the importance of environmental agenda and, under his leadership, Green Cross International has grown into the world's leading environmental organization with 30 national organizations around the world.

Alexander Likhotal argues that the new challenges the world faces today, will not be met with today’s political systems. But that we still stubbornly cling to the familiar, even when existing models are clearly obsolete and increasingly dysfunctional. Never before have so many things changed so quickly.

Numerous changes are occurring in the models of social, economic, and political activity, in projections of power and authority. The cultural landscape and its relevant “content structures” (democracy, liberalism) are changing simultaneously. Human behavioral patterns and their matching mechanisms are acquiring new qualities. Will current forms of governance and international institutions be able to adapt fast enough to harness and channel change instead of being overwhelmed by it?

As an insider on the political, philanthropic, and environmental world stage, Professor Likhotal is ideally positioned to advise any organization on how to lead the change in the paradigm of today's global crises. The biggest challenge in the next ten years will be our ability to offset our systemic crisis with comprehensive solutions based on scientific knowledge, focusing on the problem itself and not on usual political agendas. With a presence of a true statesman, he catches audiences off-guard. Perhaps expecting a man of his experience to be intimidating and unapproachable, the truth is just the opposite. When he engages his audience, his passion and personality shines through. He is that rare sort of speaker who can address some of the most serious issues the world is facing, yet leaves his audience with hope, opportunity, and a plan.

Tailoring his engaging presentations to focus on clients' objectives, Likhotal uses numerous examples of strong leadership and effective decision making to inspire and challenge audiences the world over. He will show you that global fragmentation can burst anyone’s bubble, even yours. It is not just a global issue, best left to current leadership, it affects us all, privately, professionally, and as individuals – and therein lies the problem. We see ourselves as 7 billion individuals, instead of one community with common destiny. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

A World in Crisis

Speech Topics

“Debugging” the World Order

The Ukrainian crisis has provoked a serious and dangerous breakdown of relations between Russia and the West – so serious that a new “reset” will not do much to improve the situation. If we are to avert a revival of Cold War and arms race – to say nothing of other threats looming large including climate change, growing shortages of fresh water, food shortages, international terrorism, cyber security, pandemics, and so on – something more like a full “reboot” is required. Read More >

In his talk, Alexander Likhotal focuses on the new “rules of the game” that could reformulate the international agenda and political frameworks in a way consistent with modern challenges. Read Less ^

Do We Need a Change: Do We Have a Choice?

Today’s world is in a state of transition. Change is no longer something we theorize about. It is no longer an option that we can consider. It is a reality that we live in and a “conditio sine qua non” of our survival. Due to on-going change and regardless of our acceptance, in 10 years the world will differ that much that we will be surprised with our current concerns. Analyzing the key trends, Alexander Likhotal focuses on the question: how well are we prepared to meet our future?

The Post-Post-Crisis World

The post-crisis era is over, and the “post-post-crisis world" is upon us. And the clever euphemisms like ‘green economy’ or ‘shared sustainable growth’ would not help. If a system is fundamentally flawed, making it more efficient or accountable will not resolve the problem. This model locks the world in continuing crisis, social injustice and the danger of environmental disaster. What we need today is to decouple economic growth from the use of energy and materials; simply increasing resource efficiency will not get us where we want to be. Alexander Likhotal does not question the objective of increasing energy and resource efficiency; essentially, we have no choice. What has to be questioned, however, is how production and consumption are being organized today.

Growth in Transition: Sustainable Development – Still an Option?

In this fascinating speech, Alexander Likhotal explains that we are at an inflection point in the world today. There is a convergence of themes – seemingly disconnected – that is now being understood to be integral and urgent to our very survival. The world is headed into a perfect storm of an interconnected economic, ecological, and social crisis. However, it’s clear that while growth is unsustainable, de-growth is unstable. Read More >

Alexander Likhotal argues that the prospects to cope with these challenges will depend upon a different way of thinking about economy and our ability to use the changes at hand for transformative change of the modern economic model – creating a renewables-based system, which enhances access, health and security, creates jobs and safeguards the environment. Read Less ^

Business Unusual?

Alexander Likhotal argues: it's time to decouple the issue of business environmental and social responsibility from the political correctness myths. The business of business is business and regardless of any "ethical mantras" it will not become a non-for profit activity. Read More >

But the world is changing and there is a growing business case for the private sector to become more resource efficient and to support green growth. The speaker focuses on relevant policies, practices, and models that make sustainability as strategic for business as customers and profit, and thus create incentives for social and environmental transformation of business models. His message: rather than being idealistic, we need to promote policies that couple long-term solutions and short-term benefits. Read Less ^

Seizing the Opportunity of the Climate Change Crisis

Winston Churchill famously said that "a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Seized as an opportunity, the climate change crisis could be the catalyst for a new era of market-driven innovation in alternative energy, conservation, sustainable development, and international cooperation. The speaker focuses on:

  • Economic MODEL transformation.
  • Holistic approach: linking development and environment, in analyses and in governance policies.
  • Decoupling economic growth from use of energy and raw materials.
  • Circular/performance-oriented/decoupled economy: drivers and instruments;
  • GHG reductions and job gains by moving the economy in the direction of a performance economy.
  • Markets reorientation by valuing natural and social capital.
  • Incentives for “net positive” transformation of business models.

The Global Water Crisis: Lacking Resources or Missing Vision?

Bottled water at the grocery store is already more expensive than crude oil on the spot market. More people today own or use a mobile phone than have access to water-sanitation services. Unclean water is the greatest killer on the globe, yet one-fifth of humankind still lacks easy access to potable water. More than half of the global population currently lives under water stress — a figure projected to increase to two-thirds during the next decade. Adequate access to natural resources, historically, has been a key factor in peace and war. Water played a key role in 37 wars during the last 60 years. Read More >

However, the world's water crisis is not related to the physical scarcity of water, but to unbalanced power relations, poverty, and related inequalities. Environmental speaker Alexander Likhotal explains that the problem of overcoming the water crisis comprises many complex and controversial issues, and outlines a coherent strategy in which the economic, social, water and environmental aspects of policy must be properly coordinated. Read Less ^