Your Excellencies, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I cannot begin to tell you what an enormous pleasure it has been for my wife and I to see such a vibrant representation of Colombia's sustainably sourced and organic products here this afternoon. I do have a little experience of my own in the field of organic farming and, having launched my own range of organic products called Duchy Originals some twenty-two years ago, I know just how difficult and challenging it can be to persuade people to invest in what can seem at times to be an incredibly risky business. So I did just want to congratulate the producers here today on their courage and vision in championing sustainable methods of production which preserve Colombia's rich culinary and agricultural heritage for future generations.
And I must say, having founded The Campaign For Wool, I was particularly delighted to see the excellent display mounted by Compartir (although I have a feeling my wife might have every sympathy with the Ambassador's wife when it comes to the practicalities of sheep grazing in her garden!). When I established this Campaign in the United Kingdom some four years ago it was my hope that we might be able to raise awareness among consumers about the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool as a textile and thus help at the same time to maintain the viability of sheep farming in the remoter areas. I could not have dared to hope then that the Campaign would become a global movement, spreading to international markets as far afield as Australia, Germany, Korea and China. And, I hope very much, from what I have heard today, that my Campaign for Wool will be present at the seventh annual Colombian wool festival next year.
If I may say so I have also been greatly interested to learn something of Colombia's ambitions to create sustainable cities for the future. I hope you will forgive me if I take this opportunity to encourage you to take a holistic approach to this challenge. It is not enough simply to incorporate "sustainability" whatever that actually means! into conventional urban planning. Rather, I would suggest that truly sustainable urban developments are those which respect the diversity of local culture, identity and the natural environment. In such developments buildings and the urban framework for communities are designed with due consideration for the way in which they interact with the people who will live, work and relax in them, while at the same time the pedestrian, not the car, is at the centre of the design process a process which involves local people in helping to masterplan their urban environment.
This, of course, requires particularly adept practitioners and facilitators with the necessary skills which is precisely what my Foundation For Building Community has been encouraging and practising for the last twenty-five years. I believe we have seen today how the richness of Colombian tradition can be preserved in modern, vibrant and successful commercial enterprises, and it is my hope that you might also be able to draw on your wonderful heritage, and your unique natural environment, and the valuable knowledge of local people to create new communities where people actually want to live and work.
It has been a great pleasure and a real treat for my wife and I to be here and we have been so impressed with what has been on display. We hope we have not prevented you from seeing what we have been so lucky enough to see already. Thank you.