Prince Charles has said we must “restore balance with the natural world” or face the risk of more deadly global pandemics, such as the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Prince of Wales, who recovered after suffering from a bout of the disease, declared “each and every one of us has a vital role to play” as he launched the 'Great Reset' project, at an online gathering of the World Economic Forum.
Lifelong environmentalist Charles, 71, told how countries need to come together to “capture the imagination and will of humanity” in order to rebuild the planet in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Delivering his keynote speech, he pointed to five main themes we must address if we are to “shape the type of world we want for ourselves and for future generations.
He said: “Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past fifty years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind.
“So, I can only encourage us all to think big and act now.
“These are unprecedented times.
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“In addition to COVID-19, over the last few decades we have seen bird flu, swine flu, Ebola, MERS, SARS which are all zoonotic diseases originating in animals.
“More than half of all pathogens affecting humans come from animals.
“Changing the relationship between wild, domestic and human animals makes pandemics more likely which is why we need to restore balance with the natural world through decisive action on climate change and restoring biodiversity.”
Charles’s themes centred on firstly capturing the imagination and will of the people in different nations to come together for a common purpose.
The heir said that despite the global push to get back to normal as we emerge from the pandemic, a “new trajectory of sustainable employment, of livelihoods and economic growth” were needed to inspire future generations.
Thirdly, he said countries, industries and businesses should come together to “create efficiencies and economies of scale that will allow us to leapfrog our collective progress and accelerate our transition”.
The Prince added: “This reset moment is our opportunity to accelerate and align our efforts to create truly global momentum. “
Charles, who has long advocated for climate change and the health of the planet to be placed at the heart of economies, speaking via video call from his Scottish home Birkhall said we must fourthly “reinvigorate science, technology and innovation” and finally rebalance investment including investment “in green energy, ecotourism and green public infrastructure”.
Royal sources told how the Prince has been working with Professor Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic "to determine how Sustainable Markets can serve as a catalyst to ‘build back better’ and to create a more environmentally sustainable future".
Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, told the conference, which included business leaders from BP, Microsoft and Mastercard as well as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has shown us that our old systems are not fit any more for the 21st century.
"It has laid bare the fundamental lack of social cohesion, fairness, inclusion, and equality.”
Now, he said, was the time to shape the system “for the need of the post-corona era”.
Warning of the “rapidly shrinking window” Charles added: “We have a golden opportunity to seize something good from this crisis: its unprecedented shockwaves may well make people more receptive to big visions of change; global crises like pandemics and climate change know no borders and highlight just how interdependent we are as one people sharing one planet.
“It is an opportunity we have never had before and may never have again.
“We must use all the levers we have at our disposal, knowing that each and every one of us has a vital role to play.