Sust Dev -- EcoLomics

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Informal Roundtable
"Brundtland Report plus 20, EcoLomics International plus 5 :
Quo Vadis Sustainable Development?"

October 18, 2007
Uni Mail, University of Geneva

Organization of the Roundtable:

- Trade and Environment Research Group (T&ERG),
  Faculty of Law, University of Geneva
- EcoLomics International, Geneva



The year 2007 represents the 20 year milestone of the sustainable development concept which was launched in 1987 with the publication of the so-called 'Brundtland Report' of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). This Report was mandated by the UN General Assembly but the Commission managed to maintain an independent status. It was spearheaded at the diplomatic level by Dr. med. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway's Prime Minister at the time, and it was directed by the Canadian Jim MacNeill, O.C., who in his previous position was the Director of Environment at the OECD. The Report was widely disseminated in the form of the book "Our Common Future" (Oxford University Press, first published 1987), which turned out to be a huge success, it was translated in over 20 languages. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of this publication, Jim MacNeill gave a Lecture at the University of Ottawa which represents his evaluation of the very inadequate implementation of the Commission's policy framework (link above).


2007 also represents the 5th anniversary of the creation of EcoLomics International. This juncture provided the impetus for the organization of an informal Roundtable at the University of Geneva's Law Faculty with the objective of reflecting on the state of play of the Sustainable Development paradigm in the context of trade and environment, and at the same time of the EcoLomics paradigm which covers only part of the former. The EcoLomics paradigm was created in 1984 but remained dormant until 2002, and like Sustainable Development, it is open to many different interpretations. On this Web site the ecolomics concept is defined as the interaction between the protection of the global ecosystem and the economic globalization process, including poverty alleviation at the aggregate level. This section contains information on the Roundtable, as well as an essay on the ecolomics concept.

It is interesting to note that a similar event focusing on the state of play in sustainable development 20 years later, spread over two days, took place by coincidence at the same time in Ottawa, organized by Carleton University and by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).