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Below is a presentation of the EcoLomics International website as well as of the 'EcoLomics' concept. For a more explicit and detailed explanation of the latter please refer to a research essay by Urs P. Thomas
"International EcoLomic Policy - Emergence and Dimensions."



Please consult the separate NGO section for the 
Presentation of Global EcoLomics



See also the People, Scope, and
Affiliations and Cooperation pages



Presentation of EcoLomics International
and of the 'EcoLomics' concept



Principle 4 of the  1992 Rio Declaration


"In order to achieve sustainable development,

environmental protection shall constitute

an integral part of the development process

and cannot be considered in isolation from it."


Conceptual Overview:
Political Concepts Related to EcoLomics vs. Related Academic Sub-disciplines




< ---

--- >











Sustainable Development









incl. poverty



Importance of

Ecology and





of Trade and


in Public International Law,**

Green Economy,







Fields of Research


Ecological Economics,

International Environmental Policy,

International Environmental Law,

Sustainable Development Law,

Development Studies,

Geographical, Human, Political, and Social Ecology,

Sustainability Science,

Resilience Science,

Environmental Philosophy & Ethics


International   Political Economy,






Environmental Economics,

Environmental Law,

Lifecycle Assessment

*)   Like Sustainable Development, EcoLomics can be defined many different ways; for the purposes of EcoLomics International it includes poverty alleviation at the aggregate level as explained below.
**)  Mutual Supportiveness is essentially a legal principle but it is listed here under political concepts because its inclusion in an MEA (such as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) is the result of a decision process of a political nature.


Statement  of Purpose:    The purpose of EcoLomics International is to make a contribution toward an improved balance between inter-generational ecological objectives and more short-term economic priorities. The relationship between these two often disparate spheres is perceived as being dominated too much by the latter. This Web site is based on a scientifically sound approach and focuses on the promotion of this balance through the documentation and analysis of multilateral perspectives, institutions and agreements.


In order to focus the attention on trade and environment issues, and at the same time to contribute to a more effective reconciliation of these two universes, the application of the term EcoLomics (ťcolomie, ÷kolomie...) is suggested. This term of ecolomics at the same time can facilitate more broadly the discussion, negotiation and analysis of the interaction between ecological and economical concerns. This is not a new subdiscipline but a political concept, somewhat similar but considerably narrower than the concepts of sustainable development and of ecopolitics. It does not connote a paradigm shift, rather a paradigm refocusing, and it does not in any way reduce the urgency of implementing more comprehensive sustainable development policies. Instead, it focuses the attention on this particular interaction of which the trade and environment conundrum is a particularly good example; it should be emphasized that in this case poverty reduction at the aggregate level is an inherent part of the concept because this is always a key concern of these negotiations. There are many other domains of course where the ecolomics concept is useful and pertinent, such as the fields of energy efficiency, of life cycle analysis, or of transport policy. Following succinct definitions are suggested:



In a broad sense, EcoLomics is a political concept which refers to the interaction between ecological and economic considerations.


For the purposes of EcoLomics International which focuses on international policy and law, the definition is appropriately adjusted as follows: Global EcoLomics refers to the interaction between the protection of the global ecosystem and the economic globalization process, taking into consideration poverty alleviation at the aggregate level.


The EcoLomy, in the same logic, connotes a certain ecosystem or ecology, its economy, and the mutual interaction, interrelationship and interdependence within their common borders, but also beyond these usually artificial enclosures. The analysis of such interactions is complicated by the fact that ecological and economic boundaries are rarely overlapping.


The objective here is to put ecolomic discussions on a par with the socioeconomic ones, and to give them an equal importance in public debates, analyses and law. EcoLomics International provides a number of free open-access Internet-based services related to research, capacity building and education, public awareness raising, and policy-making which are described below. It attempts to stimulate the exchange of information, analyses and ideas in a specialized niche containing a set of selected policy issues at the global level. The site is essentially dedicated to two domains which have become known since the early 1990s in diplomacy and in academia as Trade and Environment on one hand, and as Science, Law and Society on the other hand, the latter often being a subset of the former, e.g. in the provisions which stipulate WTO-compatible import restrictions based on scientific evidence. The focus chosen here includes environment-related food safety, especially GM food products and pesticide residues.


This Web site is centered to a large extent on the two institutional frameworks of the United Nations and of the WTO, on their interactions and -- last but not least -- on the complex and politically sensitive interactions between them. EcoLomics International supports the conclusion of many analysts that the UN-administered Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the WTO Agreements need to be more coherent, more mutually supportive, and better respecting each other's domain of competence and authority. Recent MEAs that include significant trade provisions contain an explicit reference to other international agreements such as the WTO. The trade agreements on the other hand are largely silent on this need for mutual supportiveness in spite of the fact that many MEAs have entered into force before the WTO agreements. The latter therefore need to pay deference more explicitly to the competence of their counterpart environmental regimes in their domain of authority.


What is this all about?    EcoLomics International is a specialized think tank, more exactly an independent, non-profit Web-based documentation and research center that was created in October 2002. Its field of work is the trade and environment interface, i.e. sectors such as multilateral agrobiodiversity-related regulation, the international regulation of wastes and hazardous chemicals, environment-related food safety, and more generally global ecopolitics, environmental governance and the role of the WTO. It emphasizes Internet-based information exchanges particularly with intergovernmental organizations, academic researchers, specialized NGOs, the media, and last but not least ministries and permanent missions. Furthermore, EcoLomics International created and published the scientific online journal EcoLomic Policy and Law with the same focus from 2004-2006; starting volume 2007 the journal is published by its sister organization Global EcoLomics.  On the other hand, EcoLomics International has started, also in 2007, the EcoLomic Occasional Papers Series. The site emphasizes and favors multilateral approaches, problem-oriented discussions and NGO participation. It focuses primarily on the analysis of global political, legal and organizational/institutional processes, relationships, principles, rules, standards and procedures within the chosen subject area, with a particular focus on WTO case law.


Where are we coming from?    The creation of the 'ecolomics' concept goes back to 1984 (The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - The magazine of global security news and analysis,  Vol. 40/4 'Commentary,' April 1984, p. 46). The same year saw the establishment of the UN's World Commission on Environment and Development,  headquartered in Geneva. In 1987 it concluded its hearings in many countries under the leadership of the Canadian Jim MacNeill, O.C., and it produced, under the diplomatic sponsorship of the then Norwegian Prime Minister, the so-called Brundtland Report that was published and translated into numerous languages as Our Common Future (Oxford University Press).  This influential and widely disseminated volume describes and promotes the concept of sustainable development, an effort which was continued world-wide through the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and its report Agenda 21. There has been much debate and controversy about the results and achievements of this effort which so far has culminated in the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals, and the  2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg with its Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. A number of different definitions of sustainable development stress the reconciliation of ecological, economic, and social concerns and priorities, and the ethical obligation to take into consideration the needs of both present and future generations. Where does the notion of ecolomics fit in here? There are important similarities and overlaps with sustainable development policies, but the thrust of ecolomic reasoning is -- within the same broader goal and based on above definitions -- more pragmatic and limited in its objectives. It aims at making a contribution toward the development of a global ecolomy that will be viable in the long term. The relationship between the two concepts is discussed in more detail in International EcoLomic Policy - Emergence and Dimensions. The ecolomics or ecolomy paradigm of course wonít solve all development problems, but it is very much a condition for sustainability.


What is EcoLomics Internationalís Role?    The spotlight on the interactions between the separate regulation of global ecological and economic issues through  the UN and the WTO respectively facilitates strategic thinking about policies and programs of action which help to reconcile these two domains which are traditionally still far too much detached from each other. These policies and organizations are unfortunately often engaged in open or hidden conflicts, and generally dealt with too much in a compartmentalized approach based on individual ministriesí agendas. This pigeon-holing of connected issues is ill suited to take into consideration interconnections, interdependencies, and synergies. The WTO in particular needs to be more integrated in global ecolomic thinking and policy-making. This demand is justified by the fact that its Dispute Settlement Body has managed to impose itself as the global (quasi-) tribunal for trade-related disputes of goods, services and intellectual property rights, including those with vast environmental ramifications and repercussions. The replacement of the 1947 GATT by the WTO in 1994 with a much broader mandate and authority has given the trade regime a far-reaching impact on many non-trade domains such as the environment, international development and cooperation, or public health. The emphasis on the WTO is furthermore justified by the fact that EcoLomics International generally privileges a multilateral approach rather than its alternative, i.e.  regional or bilateral trade agreements.


EcoLomics International is an NGO which is affiliated with the following:


EcoLomic Policy and Law - Journal of Trade and Environment Studies


EcoLomics Occasional Papers Series


Global EcoLomics, a formally established sister NGO


Center for Trade and Environment, a virtual coordination mechanism


As EcoLomics Internationalís name suggests, it attempts to contribute to the elaboration and promotion of ecolomic thinking and policy-making at the international level. The same approach, however, is of course just as pertinent and necessary at the local, national or regional level, and in numerous environmental and industrial sectors which cannot be covered here. It is very much hoped indeed that ecolomic approaches and stakeholders' initiatives will spread to all kinds of sectors outside and beyond the scope of this site, and that they will expand and find new and constructive uses and applications in close cooperation with environmental organizations of all kinds, and with industry, commerce, finance, and the responsible authorities. It endeavors to act as a catalyst and as an incitement for reflection and initiatives aiming in this direction. EcoLomics Internationalís fundamental goal lies in the attempt to bridge and reconcile  the diverging and very different perspectives of ecology and economics.


Services Provided:    Most thematic section contain two parts:


A) more or less official documents and other texts such as agreements, background or informational papers from intergovernmental and governmental organizations.
B) position papers, government submissions, NGO analyses as well as articles, scientific research or conference papers.


These documents are supplemeted by a continually upgraded structure of sectoralized bibliographic references, sectoralized links and other supporting information. Suggestions for the inclusion of documents, analyses and links are gratefully accepted in English and French, and they will be considered for posting provided they fall within the framework of this Home Page.


EcoLomics International makes every attempt possible to always clearly indicate the source of its material if it is not original; if this should be missing or incorrect anywhere, a notification of the error would be greatly appreciated. Information about non-operational links would also be welcome. The material presented on this site is either original or else published under the generally accepted terms of the Fair Use Doctrine based on strictly non-profit educational objectives and the clear indication of the source. Posting and disseminating EcoLomics International's own  proprietary material is authorized under these same principles. EcoLomics International encourages and appreciates the inclusion of its URL in lists of links and will be happy to reciprocate by adding suitable Web sites in its link sections at the end of the introductions to each of the thematic sections.



Urs P. Thomas, PhD


EcoLomics International

6307 rue Beaulieu

Montrťal QC H4E 3E9s



urs.thomas -- at --EcoLomics-International.org


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