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EcoBalance International Conference - Accounting the Green Economy
17 May 2012 - 18 May 2012
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Gaia, Portugal

According to the strategy of the United Nations outlined within the ?Road to Rio+20? series, which promotes a ?Development-led Green Economy?, ?the aim is provoke discussion, advance new ideas, and provide inspiration for the future Conference whose result should be consensus on where we want to go in sustainable development and how developed and developing countries should work together to get there.?One of the core issues that make environmental agreements a 'political impossibility', is the difficulty of the market to account for the environmental costs (debits) and benefits (credits) that result from human activity, as they are globally dispersed. These costs and benefits, also called negative and positive externalities, constitute a 'market failure'.

Upon recognizing the climate and oceanic systems as an ?Intangible Natural Heritage of Mankind?, it is possible to overcome the 'black hole' that our natural vital life support systems currently represent to the economy and juridic systems. However, in order to prevent this Common Heritage from being merely a statement of intentions, it will be necessary to reach an agreement upon a system that allows the measurement, comparison and valuation of these globally dispersed costs and benefits.

In order to reach, by 2020, the goal of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity adopted at the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD, COP10), of reducing the human ecological footprint so that it remains within the Earth's biological carrying capacity, it is necessary to apply the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR). Establishing all the dimensions of these different responsibilities, implies that not only the debits, but the credits as well, are put on the negotiating table. In order to achieve this, a common metric must be used to obtain an EcoBalance. If we are able to tag each unit of this common metric with a price, we may find a platform of justice and reciprocity, in which to proceed with the settlement of accounts.

The use of common values and metric, may also help to overcome the stigmas of the different historic responsibilities preventing us from having a future, which is one of the core issues of the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/236.

We wish this EcoBalance conference to be a space for open debate on how to operate the accountancy of our relations, criss-crossing local and global scales, in order to answer the issues of reciprocity, trust and predictability, which Elinor Ostrom considers fundamental for anyone to be willing to change their behavior, in the context of collective action.

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