Global Footprint Network – Ten Years On
by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment
Ten years ago Global Footprint Network opened its doors with the ambitious, but necessary, goal of making ecological limits central to decision-making. They want decision-makers to recognize that living within nature’s budget is in the direct self-interest of their countries, their cities and their fixed assets.
As an example – of particular importance and relevance – take international development:
Although most high-income countries allocate less than the pledged 0.7% of their GDP on official international development assistance, they still spend a combined total of more than $130 billion a year on the cause. How much lasting development does this money generate? While project budgets are tracked carefully, no agency assesses the cumulative sustainable development benefit of its investments. If they did, this money could be allocated even more effectively.
Therefore it is particularly pleasing that UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013– the world’s leading statement on development- prominently featured GFN’s sustainable development framework combining the Ecological Footprint with UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI). The Report asserts:
“To sustain progress in human development, far more attention needs to be paid to the impact human beings are having on the environment. The goal is high human development and a low Ecological Footprint per capita. Only a few countries come close to creating such a globally reproducible high level of human development without exerting unsustainable pressure on the planet’s ecological resources.”
We know that human welfare is critically dependent on healthy ecological assets. By providing proper accounting, this metric (the Ecological Footprint compared with the Human Development Index) can identify options for lasting development. It can also identify approaches that are far more effective per dollar invested than conventional development.
In their ten years, GFN have become better and stronger at advancing their mission. Four major awards over the last year have strengthened their prominence. With partners in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, they are well-positioned to marshal public commitments already made, and to collaborate with new leaders who know that now is the time to take advantage of opportunities to re-envision and redirect economies so they can operate successfully within nature’s budget.
If you want to help GFN continue their work to achieve the massive system change needed for us all to live well, within the means of one planet, you can support them by donating securely online, which is tax-deductible for U.S. residents. Global Footprint Network also has representation in Belgium and Switzerland, so please check with your national tax legislation for possible tax deductibility.