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ESEE 2011 – 9th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, 14-17 June 2011, Istanbul

I signal here two special sessions:

„Eco-Innovation: Transitions to the Eco-Cities of the Future (* Summary 1)
– organized by Ioan M. Ciumasu, University of Versailles, Econoving International Chair,

„Biodiversity Conservation calls for Ecological Economics” (** Summary 2)
– organized by Ioan M. Ciumasu, University of Versailles, Econoving International Chair, and Joachim H. Spangenberg, Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI), Koeln,

The deadline for abstracts was on 05 January 2011. Full papers are due 9 May 2011. Deadline for registration: 15 April 2011. Deadline for registration of presenters: 9 May 2011.

If you are interested in one of those topics but you did not submit an abstract and/or not able to attend this conference, we can discuss the topic by email or phone: , 0033-139-255163

* Summary 1

Around the world there is great hope that technological development may be re-oriented from its current destructive path toward a more sustainable development path, one where technology is used to decrease the impact of human activities on the environment. Nevertheless, the direction of technological development is only part of the problem of sustainability. Entire techno-social systems need to evolve, so that economic activities and general prosperity become sustainable within the carrying capacity limits of the natural systems. Therefore, eco-innovation must involve and be more than demonstrated or potential technological solutions: eco-innovation as a theory and practice must extend additionally to social and economic impacts and interactions of technologies in complex situations. By their nature, cities are complex systems and also engines of knowledge and progress, and sources of social and economic advances. Urbanization is increasing fast, and the majority of the world’s population is now living in cities. Also, the increasingly global economy and the society are largely a matter of global communication and exchanges of knowledge, materials and energy, dynamics generated by urban centres and global networks of cities. To sum up, the transition to sustainability – if successful – will have to be largely driven by city dynamics.
A city cannot be considered sustainable (if at all) within its physical boundaries, but rather together with the hinterlands from which the city draws its resources. In a globalized world, we must speak about networks of cities, with more or less interconnected hinterlands – ultimately the planet itself. For the purposes of diminishing the environmental burden of cities, it is probably most useful to talk of ‘eco-cities’ rather than the idealistic aim of ‘sustainable cities,’ since ‘eco-cities’ are visibly members of wider networks of connections, and supporting eco-systems. The aim of this special session is to identify concrete solutions, proposed realistic transitions to a future that must be sustainable but which remains unknown in shape and way of functioning, and which has to tackle today’s harsh realities in the cities, related to environmental, social and economic unsustainability.
On this path, concepts like eco-innovation are merely a decade old, and experiments in building sustainable cities have unveiled a wide array of hidden difficulties and complexities. We need to learn from these early lessons, identify solid paths, sound technological and managerial approaches. Istanbul is one of the great cities, which went through waves of transitions between epochs. The city and the ESEE conference emerge as an ideal context for working out urban solutions for sustainable development.

** Summary 2

Recent developments in ecological economics have opened the way to new investigations and conclusions in biodiversity conservation science and policies. Concepts such as ‘ecosystem goods and services’ have begun to enable scientific and policy communities to articulate in increasingly precise terms the value and importance of biodiversity conservation. Further needed development of such concepts will require greater integration of natural and social science perspectives regarding the role of biodiversity in ecosystem dynamics. Specific areas of further integrative work in the context of ecosystem carrying capacity including the concepts of ecosystem productivity, robustness relative to disturbances, and regenerative capacity.
ESEE 2011 offers a timely opportunity to take next steps toward improved dialogue and cooperation. Ecological economics and biodiversity conservation are developing complementary approaches, but with an interface/communication still to be developed. Only together can the two domains have truly efficient impacts in policy and decision making process.
The aim of this special session is to address the need for integration, and to foster collaborative dialogue between ecologists and biodiversity scientists enabling better contribution of their work to the highly transdisciplinary environment of ecological economics, and so to accelerate a process of sharing methods, experiences and expertise between biodiversity scientists and ecological economists. The scope of the session extends from general-level discussions to case studies, to problem co-definition, and on to co-elaboration of scientific and policy approaches.