IUF 20 ans

Etymologically, the word resource is a noun deri­ved from the old French verb res­sour­dre and its past par­ti­ci­ple res­sours/res­sourse (rela­ted to the Latin resur­gere) mea­ning “to rise again”. A resource is lite­rally a second or new source, some­thing which relie­ves, a means of ending dif­fi­culties as well as an asset which can be used, bought, sold or exchan­ged. Resources can be natu­ral, human, eco­no­mic, ins­ti­tu­tio­nal or cog­ni­tive. Content varies accor­ding to what is being refer­red to : mate­rial resour­ces such as the pro­duc­tion of agro-eco­sys­tems, energy, bio­di­ver­sity or popu­la­tion net­works ; human resour­ces ; or imma­te­rial resour­ces such as ins­ti­tu­tio­nal resour­ces.

Far from being a stable and homo­ge­nous object of study, resour­ces pre­sent a dyna­mic poten­tial which defies attempts at concep­tua­li­za­tion : they are at the heart of (finan­cial, eco­no­mic, geo­po­li­ti­cal and legal) conflicts, of unre­sol­ved ten­sions (bet­ween consump­tion and pre­ser­va­tion, exploi­ta­tion and rene­wal, adop­tion and rejec­tion) and they are sub­jec­ted to conti­nual change of status (recy­cla­ble, pro­tec­ted, rene­wa­ble, etc.) accor­ding to the state of science, the needs of the pre­sent, medium-term pers­pec­ti­ves, and natio­nal and inter­na­tio­nal legis­la­tion.

This diver­sity of orders, dimen­sions and content pro­vi­des an idea of the omni­pre­sence of the notion of resour­ces in the ques­tions and research concer­ning models of the past and pre­sent deve­lop­ment of society. At the local and global levels, in both regio­nal and pla­ne­tary issues, this notion has become some­thing more than a real pro­blem. It has become a concept, a norm and a hori­zon for human and scien­ti­fic prac­tice. It demands the rethin­king of the links bet­ween science, poli­tics and human life. The resour­ces issue cons­ti­tu­tes both a pre­lude to a pro­tean intel­lec­tual area and one of the common deno­mi­na­tors of every sub­ject area as well as repre­sen­ting a major issue for our future.

For these reasons, the « You and the Resources” survey » is important BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the conference