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Country Work

Ecological resources are at the core of every country s long-term wealth. Yet population growth and consumption patterns are putting more pressure on these critical assets.

Today, the majority of countries in the world are running ecological deficits, using more resources than ecosystems within their borders can regenerate. Others depend heavily on resources from elsewhere, which are under increasing pressure. In some areas of the world, the implications of ecological deficits can be devastating, leading to resource loss, ecosystem collapse, debt, poverty, famine, and war.

The Ecological Footprint is a resource accounting tool that helps countries understand their ecological budget and gives them the data necessary to manage their resources and build a secure, resilient future.

Our work with national governments includes:

  1. National Reviews: A review of a country’s National Footprint Accounts is an excellent first step to improve data quality and create opportunities for Ecological Footprint policy applications at the national level. Global Footprint Network has completed National Footprint Reviews with Belgium, Ecuador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the European Union included analysis of the Ecological Footprint in its 2011 Analysis of Key Contributions to Resource Efficiency.
  2. Risk identification: The Ecological Footprint can help identify which risks associated with ecological deficits need to be addressed most urgently to generate political will and guide policy action.
  3. Policy development: With the identification of Footprint “hot spots,” policy makers can prioritize policies and actions, often in the context of a broader sustainability policy.
  4. Footprint adoption: Adopting the Ecological Footprint as an official indicator enables government policy makers and planners to ensure continuity in tracking sustainability over the long term and helps raise sustainability awareness among the general public.
  5. Monitoring: Footprint time trends and projections can measure progress toward goals as well as short-term and long-term effectiveness of policies.
  6. Communications: The Ecological Footprint can improve understanding of sustainability challenges, enable comparisons across countries, and raise stakeholder awareness.

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