Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland today opened the 2014 World Forum for Democracy with an appeal to engage with young people in order to revive democracy and democratic participation.
“Tangible change is in the air. Young people are already transforming many aspects of our daily lives – from the way we learn and communicate, to the way we do business. They are ready to change democracy too – but are we ready to change?” he asked.
The Secretary General welcomed the partners of the Forum, Pascale Boistard, Minister of State for Women’s Rights representing the French Government, Roland Ries, the Mayor of Strasbourg, and Philippe Richert, the President of Alsace Region.
He also welcomed Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, as key-note speaker. Mr Rifkin elaborated on his concept of “zero marginal cost society” and called on participants to discuss and develop a “digital bill of rights and responsibilities”.
Sharing resources on the “Internet of things” would not only help resolve unemployment, but also have a positive impact on the environment. “Getting to zero marginal cost society is only hope to hold off climate change,” said Mr Rifkin.