We will critically review the ecological-economic contribution to the debate on green economy and consider the problems of natural resource, biodiversity conservation and environmental degradation and the effects of various public economic policies directed at correcting these problems, in the light of Costa Rica´s unique experience. The course will have a very clear policy and practical focus taking advantage of its unique location. The methodology will also, include discussion sessions dedicated to reflection and critical analysis. Our mix of theoretical and practice modules, will take us from the reality of the Central Valley, where most opportunities and affluence are located to a one week field trip in the Costa Rican South Pacific´s Osa Peninsula, named by National Geographic as the most biologically intense place on Earth. There we will experience exchanges with Gnöbe Indigenous territories and visit Corcovado National Park, the Dulce Gulf – one of the few "tropical fjords" in the planet- and other protected areas.
In the methodological part, the course will analyse the concept of economy-environment interactions and industrial ecology, which highlights the importance of intersectoral flows of matter and energy required for the production of the goods and services. The method of environmentally extended input-output analysis, actively used for policy applications around the world, will be introduced to illustrate this approach. Ideas of interdisciplinary synthesis and methodological pluralism will be introduced alongside institutional economic approaches. Next, it will explore the system of tools for decision making based on multicriteria methods, used for policy appraisal, which applied at different levels could shift the patterns of decisions making towards more socially equitable and more environmentally friendly as well as economically sound decisions. Acting as a bridge to the practical module, the final theoretical session will criticise existing approaches to measure macro sustainability performance and will introduce new conceptual tools for the assessment of progress. A particular attention will be paid to ecosystems, the impacts of the economy on the ecosystems and alternative ecosystem services assessment and valuation techniques including multi-stakeholder approaches.
The course is designed for multiple points of entry and could be helpful for PhD students, government experts, representatives of international organisations and business. The course will give participants an opportunity to explore key methodologies for ecological-economic analysis and to apply these to various case studies.
The Oxford, Spring, Summer and Winter Schools in Ecological Economics organised by Environment Europe attracted participants from 58 countries, including Canada, USA, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Iceland, UK, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Latvia, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, including UNDP, UNEP, IUCN, OECD, WWF, GGGI experts as well as representatives of ministries, companies, NGOs and leading universities.