21.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice/Global Footprint Network

Resource limits and their implications for economic policy

©Global Footprint Network Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Initiative - Are Mediterranean countries at risk?

How is the Mediterranean region's economic crisis linked to ecological crisis? Does the region risk a supply disruption of the resources essential to its economies and well-being? Next month, Global Footprint Network and UNESCO, in collaboration with the MAVA Foundation will explore these questions with the launch of a two-year study that investigates the economic implications of resource constraints in the Mediterranean region.

Economic activities depend on access to ecological resources including water, biomass and fossil fuels. However, pressure on the Mediterranean region’s natural resources has never been as intense as it is today. The region now requires approximately two and a half times more resources than its ecosystems can renew. And external resources are becoming ever scarcer and more expensive.

The situation is precarious, concludes the Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Trends report, a two-year study by the international sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network. If resource deficits are not reversed, they will erode Mediterranean countries’ economic security and their capacity to guarantee the well-being of their citizens.

“As resource constraints tighten globally, countries that depend heavily on ecological services from other nations may find that their resource supply becomes insecure and unreliable, and this has profound economic implications" said Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network and the co-creator of the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool.

The report will be launched June 25 at a two-day conference taking place at Palazzo Zorzi in Venice, Italy, that will include a media briefing and workshops addressing the report's key findings.  The conference is expected to draw government finance, planning and environment representatives, NGOs and academics who wish to better understand the link between economic and environmental crises.

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