22 April 2010

Footprint Forum: Meet the Winners of the 21st Century - June 2010, Italy

Sourced from the Global Footprint Network site

'Global Footprint Network is thrilled to announce our second Partner Network Conference, Footprint Forum: Meet the Winners of the 21st Century, in Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy, just outside of Siena, Italy June 7-12 2010

Please join the UNESCO Venice Office, the WWF Mediterranean Initiative, Plan Bleu and Global Footprint Network for what promises to be an exciting – and game changing – week of events at Footprint Forum from June 7th to 12th. The Mediterranean region will serve as our learning laboratory as we explore how nations can navigate emerging resource constraints and thrive in the 21st century.

Roundtable participants include Peter Victor, author of "Managing Without Growth," Manfred Max-Neef, who will address new approaches for human development; Duncan Pollard of WWF International, who will speak to the food, water and biodiversity connection; and Martha Campbell, who will discuss the role population plays in resource policy. We will develop new strategies with Alejandro Litovsky of Volans, who will present the results of a new international survey about the barriers nations face when responding to the ecological crisis. Finally, national visionaries such as Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak of the United Arab Emirates and others will share how their nations are positioning themselves for the 21st century.

Register Now for this breakthrough series of roundtables that will equip you with the tools and tangible actions that can move your institution forward.

WHAT: The Forum Roundtables are a series of fast-paced, highly interactive conversations on critical topics, designed to move the sustainability agenda forward during a time of increasing resource constraints. The aim of the sessions is to overcome barriers to action, fill gaps in knowledge, and identify strategies that inspire further sustainability investments and bring about systemic change. Footprint Forum will foster the kind of learning and idea-sharing that will support government innovation, strengthen corporate strategy and advance human development.

WHO: Attendees will include international leaders in government, non-profits, development agencies and business, sharing the common mission of creating healthy societies where all people can live well, within the means of our planet. The Forum will allow governments to discuss strategies for maintaining a competitive economy during a time of resource scarcity, corporations to gain an understanding of how to build a robust business strategy that will withstand ecological pressures, and development agencies to explore what is needed to make development gains last while preserving natural capital. The academic side-conference provides a forum for researchers to share the latest in Ecological Footprint science.

Copenhagen – COP15 – showed us that national governments and political leaders are finding it difficult to act collectively in the global interest. Global Footprint Network is convinced that climate action will only gather momentum once nations see that decisive action is in their own best interest. This compelling self-interest story becomes obvious once we understand climate change in the context of ecological resource constraints, as one of a number of related crises – food, energy, water, biodiversity, and so forth – emerging from humanity’s systematic overuse of available resources. This reframing presents a great impetus for transformation. The focus of Footprint Forum 2010 is on how we can capitalize on this opportunity.

WHEN: June 7-12, 2010.

The events of the Forum include:

Footprint Policy Seminar: Monday 7 June
Footprint Forum Roundtables: Monday 7 June - Wednesday 9 June
Academic Conference: Wednesday, 9 June - Thursday, 10 June
Public Footprint Conference: Thursday, 10 June
Technical Footprint Training: Friday, 11 June - Saturday, 12 June

WHERE: Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy, just outside of Siena

For more information contact: Nina Brooks at nina@footprintnetwork.org

Forum Roundtables

The Mediterranean region cradles many of the world’s most influential civilizations. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly ecologically fragile. This region, rich in history, art and architecture is the home of many diverse cultures and continues to be an attractive destination for tourists (more than 25 percent of global tourism). Tourism and local demand for resources continues to increase the pressure on ecological services in the region. As a result, all Mediterranean nations are by now running ecological deficits; each nation’s residents, compounded by its visitors, use more ecological services than are available within the nations’ own borders. One effect is local ecological deterioration.

Leaders in the region are quickly becoming aware of the potentially debilitating consequences of this situation, but reversing these trends will take time.

The goal of the Forum Roundtables in Siena is to help policy analysts and decision-makers gain a deeper understanding of the risk these trends pose to their economic stability and to help them discover the opportunities that are available in order to reverse these trends. The Roundtables will examine the challenges, barriers and solutions that all countries face through the lens of the Mediterranean experience, by examining case studies from the region.

Forum Roundtable Program (subject to change)

Day 1: Monday June 7

2:00pm-3:30pm: Opening Plenary

Conference Opening – Mathis Wackernagel and Susan Burns

Launch of Mediterranean Initiative

Ecological Creditors, Ecological Debtors: The New Rules of the Game

Today, 80 percent of the world’s people live in countries whose residents use more ecological services than the ecosystems within their borders can provide. These countries depend upon the biocapacity concentrated in a limited and rapidly dwindling number of “ecological creditor” countries, whose biocapacity (ability to produce resources and absorb CO2) exceeds their total demand.

How will this concept re-frame the geopolitical landscape? As human pressure on the environment continues to grow, there will be strategic benefit for all nations if ecological creditor nations maintain their resource reserves. What are the best strategies for managing risk and maintaining natural capital? In a world of ecological creditors and debtors, how can we all win?

Beyond Carbon: Limits, Biocapacity and Climate Change

What is the role of maintaining biocapacity when addressing climate change? Much of the global focus has been on reducing carbon – how can we build on that and expand the focus to biocapacity, such as the degradation of our forests and oceans? How do we ensure that efforts to reduce carbon don’t put equal pressure on other land types like forests and cropland?

A Framework for the Future

To navigate in the future, decision makers will need new tools and frameworks. Mathis Wackernagel will propose four critical things all decision makers need to know: understanding global long term trends, understanding your national trends, preparing for a variety of climate scenarios, and determining your nation’s ‘ideal resource consumption profile.’

4:00pm-5:30pm: Afternoon Sessions – The Challenges


Water is the source of all life—and in many ways, shapes the way a community lives. From food, to health to housing – everything we use and depend on could not exist without water. We can no longer afford to take this luxury for granted, as population growth and economic development continue to increase demand on this precious commodity. In recent years, water management has become a key issue in the Mediterranean region, particularly in the areas of health, agriculture and food self-sufficiency. What do all regions need to know about the water crisis to enable us to plan well for the future?

Footprint and Biodiversity

Evidence of the worldwide species decline is global, pervasive and troubling. If an ecosystem is like a factory, then biodiversity is like the assembly line that allows the factory to produce natural capital. What does it mean that the factory parts have never been fully booked and valued? What are the implications of global factory that is being continuously degraded?

The Ecological Footprint is a measure of the aggregate demand of humans on nature, of the pressure that our demands for natural capital place on ecosystems and species. When the Ecological Footprint helps decision makers understand what drives biodiversity loss, and how such losses can be mitigated, then declining ecosystem productivity may be slowed, halted or even reversed.

Peak Oil

What exactly is “peak oil” and how might it mitigate or accentuate the biocapacity crunch? Will higher oil prices reduce consumption, thus support a lower carbon economy? Or will we reach out in desperation to dirtier energy sources such as tar sands and coal? What are key policy instruments to ensure that peak oil becomes a friend and not a foe?

Roundtable on Population

The United Nations predicts that the global population will peak by 2050. Will we have the biocapacity available by then to support this population? How can we boost investment in successful approaches such as women’s empowerment? How can we get population back on the agenda as one of many factors that affect global sustainability? Join us as we explore strategies to ensure that humanity’s needs are met on an increasingly limited planet.

Day 2: Tuesday, June 8

9:00am-10:00am: Opening Plenary – Welcome Keynote

In Conversation: Natural Capital and Our Economy

What is the relationship between the ecological crisis and the financial crisis? Many believe the financial crisis is just part of a normal economic cycle or the result of weak regulation, but is there something deeper that’s being driven by natural resource limits? What shifts in our economy will be necessary to ensure that economic growth does not undermine natural capital?

10:30am – 12:00pm: Morning Sessions: Vision

Nations Leading the Way: United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, United Kingdom

With representatives from UAE, Ecuador and the UK

World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Vision 2050 – An Interactive Workshop

Imagine the impact of 29 global corporations coming together to tackle these questions: What will a sustainable future look like in 2050? What are the pathways to getting there? This is WBCSD’s Vision 2050—come hear about and be a part of this powerful global vision.

Sarasin Bank: Ranking the competitiveness of countries

Sarasin Bank recognizes that a nation’s ability to meet its future bond obligations depends upon many factors, but increasingly, a nation’s credit standing is closely connected its ability to protect its resources for the long term. What can Sarasin’s rating system tell us about the way that the financial industry is beginning to view the strength of nations.

The Volans Survey: Limits Literacy around the World

Much evidence indicates that humanity is running rapidly into severe ecological constraints. Yet, most public policy continues to depend upon economic expansion. If not resolved, this contradiction may lead to painful disappointments. In light of emerging resource constraints, some countries are starting to shift their investment patterns – but they are still in a tiny minority, and the trends are not bending.

Can this contradiction be resolved? How do policymakers currently incorporate ecological limits into their decisions? If they don’t, what are the barriers to doing so? If policies do indeed incorporate ecological limits, could it be that their positive effects just have not become visible yet? The Volans Survey explores these issues and maps the current beliefs about investment strategies in national public policy.

12:15pm-1:45pm: Afternoon Sessions 1 – Barriers

Track 1: Feeding 9 Billion: The Food, Water and Energy Connection

How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050? Can we maintain biocpacity used for food consumption in the decades to come, given challenges such as growing water scarcity and shifts toward biofuels? What are the trade-offs between water, land and energy? Join us as we discuss challenges and devise strategies for these questions and more.

Track 2: Re-thinking Growth

The world is in ecological overshoot and many countries, in the North and South, are running ecological deficits. Yet economic stability and social peace depend on economic expansion. The dilemma is that economic expansion leads into ecological impossiblities, the lack of such expansion to social and economic chaos. Is stability and social cohesion possible in time of contraction? What kind of challenges do we need to prepare ourselves for to be ready for times of non-growth? How can we move from a throughput-maximizing economy to an equitable, wealth maximizing society that invests in, rather than liquidates, natural capital? What are the operation principles of such an economy?

Track 3: Global Health and Human Development

There is rising awareness that investments in alleviating poverty must provide populations with lasting solutions rather than act as short-term “Band-aids”. The same can be said for a population’s natural wealth. How do we ensure that development enhances a population’s natural capital as a source of long-term wealth? In a resource-constrained world, it is no longer about saving nature or saving people – it is about maintaining the health of both.

2:45pm-4:00pm: Afternoon Sessions 2 – Solutions

Track 1: Feeding 9 Billion: The Food, Water and Energy Connection

Track 2: Re-thinking Growth

Track 3: Global Health and Human Development

4:30pm-5:45pm: Closing Session

Re-cap of Barriers and Solutions: A conversation with session leads on tracks 1, 2, and 3

Day 3: Wednesday, June 9

10:00am-11:30am: Morning Session – Looking Forward

Working Group on National Competitiveness (WGNC) – Attendance by invitation only

More than 25 nations are, or have been, engaged in evaluating and adopting the Ecological Footprint as a national indicator. Global Footprint Network is kicking off a new partner group, WGNC, to provide networking, resources and support to national government representatives as they work within their own governments. Contribute to and learn more about WGNC, which will bring these individuals together for the first time, to share successes, challenges and strategies. This meeting will cover the purpose and structure of the WGNC.

This interactive session of the Working Group on National Competitiveness asks participants to work through the following topics: What successes have you had in your nation toward adoption of the Ecological Footprint? What are your most successful strategies and most difficult barriers? What role can this group play to amplify the success of our work, and accelerate it on an international level?

Tools for Governments

12:00pm-1:30pm: Closing Plenary

Setting the Agenda for 2010'

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