'As we can manage our artificial resource - money - in terms of budget, why shouldn't we do the same with natural resources?'
This question is at the basis of ecoBUDGET, an Environmental Management System developed by ICLEI especially for local governments, in order to plan, monitor, and report the consumption of natural resources within the municipal territory. With ecoBUDGET local governments present tangible achievements of their sustainability oriented policies to the public. (Picture by The Washington Post)
What are scarce resources?
We think of finances or personnel when talking about scarce resources. Municipal action is also severely affected by the scarcity of natural resources. When potable water and clean air are no longer available, economic development is extremely limited (e.g. beverage producers or a computer-chip producers cannot locate). If you can no longer swim in the rivers, the citizens' life quality is affected. Air pollutants harm city forests and also devalue communal wealth.
Who can use ecoBUDGET?
ecoBUDGET is a framework tool for environmental management. Although specifically developed for local governments, it can in principle be applied to all sectors.
Why another tool?
ecoBUDGET allows for a systematic approach to the application of other instruments and thus for an increased efficiency of local environmental policy. Our tool promotes sustainable resources management and environmental quality through the setting of locally defined key targets. ecoBUDGET serves as a basis for informed policy making towards local sustainability and a framework to Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
Does ecoBUDGET stop at the cities frontiers?
No. ecoBUDGET advances regional cooperation and supports the development of integrated approaches to natural resources management thus furthering the realisation of national sustainability strategies. National or international targets can be translated to the local level. Local effects can be integrated into national reporting.
We invite cities, local, regional and national governments, local government associations, international agencies, Local Agenda 21 forums and other interested parties to inform themselves about ecoBUDGET.
"Nowadays, there are two contradictory ways to view development. The first of these considers monetary profit as being the only criterion to measure success. The second links development to the impassable limits of workers' dignity, of mankind's health and of the conservation of natural resources. I believe that ecoBUDGET is instrumental for cities that strive to pursue the second form of development."
Sergio Cofferati, former Lord Mayor of Bologna, Italy