(MENAFN - Arab News) The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Western Studies Institute (WSI) recently held a lecture on sustainable development at the chamber.
The lecture was presented by Dr. Sabine O'Hara, general manager and deputy chairman of "Professors Without Borders" and chief of the Global Ecology Company.
She covered the American experience of sustainable development in education, health and other areas. O'Hara confirmed the readiness of Saudi Arabia to apply the American experience on its land.
The lecturer focused on five pillars of economic development and a road map for a sustainable future.
She focused on induced and indirect regional economic policies, the base sector which characterizes any region or country's economy, providing the example of New York whose economy focuses on electricity and Saudi Arabia whose economy focuses on fuel.
Directing her speech to developing countries, she said: "Quality of life is the major determinant of any development desired to be sustainable so the countries' leaders should look at that aspect in focus. Jacksonville in Florida is an example of the quality of life. After continuous work on developing this city, they gained fruitful results. Education ranked first and health second in the ladder of development."
She added quality of life approaches affect the life of people, migration of people and location of employers in the region.
"If the quality of life is bad there will be poverty, we will find people migrating from their homes and we will find employers relocating to other places, which will increase the complications of the problem and make it impossible to solve."
O'Hara questioned who has the authority to choose the indicators of development.
"The countries must choose the experts and creative people of their own to be the base for the future development we look for, especially in the Arab world," she said.
"The creative people are not who work for themselves but the people who plan, contribute ideas and have the mindset to think more about their nations' future. These people need more care from the officials."
She talked about another kind of development, the knowledge economy, and she said certain indicators give more information that will improve the quality of life.
"These indicators have conditions and give information. They must be descriptive, they must hold valid information, must be available, useful in setting policies, must be outcome-oriented, productive and must help us build assets," she said.
"We use a proverb in our daily life. This proverb is not only used in the social life but in economic and development issues. The proverb says, 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket.' In this proverb, I mean not using all our efforts on one aspect of development, but we use all our efforts in all aspects of development. This is a suggested solution for the development problem in the region."
She said the concept of global economy is used in all regions of the world.
"Wherever you look, you find the words 'Made in India' or 'Made in Russia.'"
When asked by Arab News about the effects of economic crises on the world, she answered: "Regions are affected in many ways. That's according to the quality of life in the region. The question is not how are regions affected, but how can these regions contribute policies to face the effects coming after the crises. Many crises affected the world, but we always hear that some regions are totally affected and others are not. What does this mean? It means these regions are protected by their sustainable development in all aspects."