"equity & new models of wealth"
Key question: What does ecological equity and wealth mean on an international or transnational scale?
Globalisation can become sustainable, if societies are capable of respecting the finite biosphere and responding to the desire for equity in the world. What, however, can equity mean?
"Equity & new models of wealth" addresses the connection between equity and ecology on a global level. The focus is not so much on equity between present and future generations (inter-generational equity), but more on issues of equity within present generations (intra-generational equity). How should reform processes be designed in order to guarantee that the ecological limits of the planet are respected in a manner fair to all citizens of the world? Which different dimensions of global ecological equity must be considered in this?
Equality as well as the claim for human dignity are the ideal of equity, against which principles of ecological equity have to be measured. Therefore two principles of intragenerational ecological equity can be distinguished:
a) Equity according to the principle of distribution: The distributive dimension of ecological equity addresses above all the access to or the possibilities of using natural resources and sinks. In the scientific and political debate on international climate protection, major attention is placed on each world citizen having in principle the same right to using the atmosphere. But how can this "per capita" right be legitimised and what different concepts are proposed? Can this principle of "equal entitlements" be transferred to other natural and global common property?
b) Equity in the recognition of rights (human rights principle): Human rights include the rights of all people to physical integrity as well as to basic subsistence. Both rights can be adversely affected to a considerable degree by the overuse of natural resources and sinks. In extreme cases they can even be taken away completely. What implications do the recognition of human rights thus have on the use of natural resources? Could this present a factor limiting the global consumption of resources?
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Dr. Wolfgang Sachs
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