Today is my first day as President of the World Resources Institute. I’m delighted to be part of this extraordinary organization that seeks enduring solutions to protect the Earth and improve people's lives.
We live in precarious times. The world has achieved unprecedented economic progress, but by living well beyond its means in terms of natural resources and ecosystems. Never has it been more important to understand the links between resources – water, soil, atmosphere, climate, biodiversity, energy, minerals – and human activity. And never has it been more imperative that economic decisions fully reflect the true value of these resources. It is only by doing so that we will succeed in eliminating poverty and enhancing lives and livelihoods permanently.
This is the territory that WRI has been working on for three decades. Over this period, under the leadership of my two predecessors, Jonathan Lash and Gus Speth, and our distinguished Board, WRI has built up a remarkable depth of professional skills and a remarkable track record of success. We have grown rapidly over the past few years, now working in 50 countries, with colleagues in China, India, and in Brazil (next year). Just take a look at all of our current activities—as you will see, we are not just a “Think” Tank. We are also a “Do” Tank!
WRI’s great strengths have always been the independence and high quality of its research and its partnerships with business, government, and civil society in forging solutions. In this regard, I want to thank our partners and supporters for all of their work and encouragement over the years.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to Manish Bapna for his terrific leadership of WRI during the interim over the past year, during which time the scale and depth of WRI activities continued to grow. It is a genuine pleasure to join such a well-functioning organization and to work with Manish and the senior team.
In the next few months, we’ll be refreshing our strategy for the coming years. WRI's dedicated staff, top-notch Board, and network of partners and supporters will expand its reach and continue to develop solutions to the world’s most urgent environmental and human development challenges. I am excited to begin this journey, and I look forward to what the future holds.