Kenya doctoral student Boscow Okumu will return to Cape Town, South Africa, late in October, following a four month study trip to the Nairobi School of Monetary Studies where he has been training alongside researchers from across the continent. This was part of a study elective that focused on environmental economics and econometrics.
When weather-related shocks harm a rural farming family’s agricultural yields, thus reducing the household’s food supply, people turn to nature or their community as a way of coping. That’s why initiatives designed to help such families cope with climate change should consider strengthening social and natural ‘capital’ for the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa.
Agricultural policy in South Africa should support a mix of crop and livestock farming amongst subsistence farmers in order to make them more resilient to the impact of climate change. This is in contrast with government’s existing approach, which currently tries to urge small farmers to diversify their crops in order to adapt to changes in climate.
South African researchers have, for the first time, calculated what tourists are willing to pay as a way of compensating the San bushmen if they agree to limit their use of natural resources such as firewood and medicinal plants in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Far from being barren wastelands, drier parts of the country like the Kgalagadi are actually treasures for poor rural communities, who are heavily depend on the natural environment as an alternative source of income.
In an effort to gauge the appropriate entrance and conservation fees for three southern African nature reserves, researchers associated with the University of Cape Town’s Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) in South Africa spent the month of August poring over results from recent surveys conducted in the respective parks.
Communities living near remote ecotourism centres can reap the benefits of a range of opportunities which the industry offers them in otherwise job-scarce and remote places.
If built, the proposed hydroelectric Bakota Gorge Dam on the Zambezi River, 60km downstream of Victoria Falls, could have marked environmental and economic impacts for the region, warns the Environmental Research Policy Unit’s (EPRU’s) Prof Tony Leiman.
Sue also recently received her PhD (Resource Economics) from UCT, which focused on examining the socio-economic impact of high-end ecotourism in remote, rural communities adjacent to protected areas.
With rising operating costs and no increases in state subsidies, SANParks needs to find alternative ways to fund its national conservation parks in South Africa. But conservation and entrance fees charged at park gates are usually determined unscientifically, and parks can’t show any hard research to explain visitor cover charges.
Researchers in South Africa recently presented a report to the provincial government of the Western Cape Province, showing the cost to the economy of degraded ‘natural capital’ is estimated to be at least R4.5 billion per annum.
A fisheries quota allocation that over-estimates Namibian fish stocks can compromise the long-term profitability of the private sector fishing industry by encouraging an over-investment in its fleet, and related infrastructure, environmental scientists have warned.
Policymakers need to take a cross-disciplinary approach to tackling South Africa’s twin challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time as making pro-poor development choices for the country.
New deadline for EfD's 2015 proposal submission is June 1, 2014. All proposals must be presented in the respective EfD Center Workshops before submission.
In three separate research briefs EPRU Research Fellow, Johane Dikgang and Senior Research Fellow, Edwin Muchapondwa, analyze the situation in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) extending between Botswana and South Africa.
Despite policy on poverty alleviation, the poor do not benefit from tourism, writes Assoc Prof Edwin Muchapondwa
About twenty EfD researchers from around the globe have been in Cape Town to grow two trees from one seed: they took part in a unique course on Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) from 28 October - 1 November 2013, right after participating the 7th EfD annual meeting.
On Wednesday October 23, EPRU hosted the EfD Policy day at Commodore Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa. The policy day brought together policy makers from various governmental levels, practioners, NGOs, international and national researchers. The purpose of the day was twofold, first to identify South African policy makers’ research priorities as input to EPRU’s work, second to highlight examples from EPRU’s research and capacities. The policy day included three distinct sessions focusing on fishery economics; biodiversity and conservation; and climate change.
Within the unique wetland area Mpumalanga Lake District in South Africa lies the site of a proposed, and controversial, opencast coal mine, the Lusthof colliery. It will require a preliminary ‘set-aside’ of about 70 million South African rands (9 million USD) to fund maintenance of water quality in the area’s rivers and lakes for a hundred years after closure, EfD researcher shows. Such set-asides to meet mine closure costs are required by South Africa’s mining legislation.
Research on energy demand in developing countries is important for many reasons. The existing widespread use of solid energy sources (e.g. fuelwood, dung, charcoal, coal, leaves, twigs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in the developing world in general, has a number of environmental implications. Deforestation, disturbance in watersheds, indoor air pollution and loss of biodiversity are some to mention. On the other hand, climbing the “energy ladder” has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, understanding the pattern of household energy demand and its implications on the environment is crucial to formulate appropriate energy policies that affect household welfare, local environment and climate change.
Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan African countries. In this regard, adaptation mechanisms to climate change play a paramount role in reducing the impact on agricultural productivity and food security. With this motivation, the EfD-EEU in Gothenburg, hosted a first collaborative research workshop on the theme “adaptation to climate change in African agriculture” in Gothenburg, Sweden, February 9-10, 2012.
This Briefing Report about the EfD Side-Event to the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban 2011 is authored by Mark Purdon, University of Toronto/EfD Research Associate.
RFF/EfD Book Launch on January 11, 2012 at the University of Cape Town: Higher petrol taxes don’t hurt the poor
The book, "Fuel Taxes and the Poor, The Distributional Effects of Gasoline Taxation and Their Implications for Climate Policy" will be launched at the University of Cape Town, School of Economics on January 11, 2012. EfD research fellow Professor Thomas Sterner, who is also the editor of the book, will be accompanied by EPRU research fellows for the book launch.
Poverty, natural resource management, and environmental degradation are inextricably linked, and this course explores ways that economic analysis can help identify underlying problems and formulate effective policy responses to them. This course, Sustainable Development and the Economics of Climate Change, is a 10-day field course on environmental issues in developing countries, with an emphasis on issues surrounding global climate change. Thomas Sterner, professor in environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg, are among the lecturers.
Fuel Taxes and the Poor challenges the conventional wisdom that gasoline taxation, an important and much-debated instrument of climate policy, has a disproportionately detrimental effect on poor people.
Press release in connection with EfD Policy Day Arusha, Tanzania, 27 October 2011
UCT students pile into a VC Beetle, demonstrating the importance of car pooling - and doing their best to limit their carbon footprint.
The Optimum Energy Future debate hosted by EPRU the 16th of August at the UCT School Economics was the opportunity to discuss with policy decision makers, academics and other relevant stakeholders the future of the City of Cape Town Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP). Anthony Black, EfD research associate is particularly involved in the project.
EfD-EPRU Research Associate Stephanie Giamporcaro lectured in March 2011 on Sustainable and Responsible Investment for the innovative Mphil in Development Finance launched recently by UCT Graduate School of Business and the Africa Growth Institute.
A contribution of EfD/EPRU Research Fellow Edwin Muchapondwa to the policy debate in Zimbabwe
Optimal park pricing can help achieve sustainable park management in eastern and southern Africa. The EfD center in South Africa, EPRU, co-hosted the second park pricing workshop in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from 28 to 29 April 2011, together with Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe. It focused on an increasingly important sector with major values at stake due to irreversibilities of some types of biodiversity loss.
Anthony Leiman gave a talk on the economic value of the False Bay Ecology Park and the City of Cape Town nature reserves (including wetlands and green belt) at the conference Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2011 held in Cape Town end of February and coordinated by the organisation: Local Governments for Sustainability.
Putting a Price on Carbon in South Africa: exploring the potential of economic instruments to mitigate climate change
Kerri Brick, EfD research fellow, and Martine Visser, EfD research fellow and coordinator, presented a paper at the Putting a Price on Carbon Conference, held in Cape Town on 23 and 24 March, 2010. The purpose of the conference was to build on the discussions undertaken at a side-event at the 2009 Climate Change Summit where Brick and Visser also presented a paper.
Wednesday 31 March 2010, EfD/EPRU Researcher Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro presented to investors, media and fellow academics the findings of the report: Environmentally Responsible Investment in South Africa: The state of play.
A platform for exchange between policy makers and academics
Since 2 years, EPRU research fellow Edwin Muchapondwa has been coordinating a research programme seeking to identify appropriate economic incentives to encourage conservation outside protected areas in Southern Africa. A workshop at the Kruger National Park from the 22 to the 24th October was the occasion for the participants to share their results and to organize future academics collaborations.
South Africa 2009 Environmental and Resource Economics Conference: A success for international academic dialogue
EPRU/EFD South Africa invited Prof Peter Berk and Prof Stein Holden to the South Africa 2009 Environmental Economic Resource Economics Conference. The conference was vibrant with more than 200 participants from academia and government agencies.
Kerri Brick, EfD research fellow, and Martine Visser, EfD research fellow and coordinator, presented papers on the economics of climate change mitigation at the 2009 South African Climate Change Summit, held in Johannesburg 3-6 March 2009.
Long-standing arguments as to whether parks alleviate poverty or create poverty traps remain unresolved, as do the questions of whether development interventions to reduce human pressures on parks are effective in terms of human wellbeing or conservation outcomes. Our main research questions are:
Cape Town has been facing the worst three-year drought in over a century. The situation has become dire as dam levels have dropped to unprecedented lows and households have been restricted to 50 litres of municipal water per person per day. Reducing unsustainable water consumption habits is difficult due to the time lag between water consumption and information reception about volumes consumed. Smart water metering can address this challenge and create awareness around water usage.
Female microenterprise creation and business models for private sector distribution of low-cost renewable off-grid LED lighting
The overall goal of this project it to evaluate whether different business models effectively scale up the distribution of affordable renewable lighting to the poorest of the poor in developing country contexts. It also aims to evaluate the impact of empowering females in poor rural villages via participation in renewable energy enterprises and spillover effects on households’ welfare.
Household’s energy transition in South Africa: Evidences from regression discontinuity design and multiple discrete-continuous model
The primary goal of this research project is to better understand the consumption patterns of different fuels in South Africa, and to identify the causal role of income in spurring household energy transitions among the poor.
An examination of factors affecting the likelihood of cooperation in Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE projects using framed field experiments
This research project has the objective to compare the effect of three different approaches on communities’ cooperation behaviour in order to reduce illegal harvesting of wildlife resources.
The Role of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park in the Regional Economy of the Eastern Cape, Relating Specifically to the Surrounding Communities
The objective of the project is to assess the economic ramifications of conservation activities in the Greater Addo region.
Developing a system for sustainable resource use by the Khomani San in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and environs: Valuing sustainable resource use
Research is required to determine the value of sustainable resource use, and its associated cultural and spiritual values to the Khomani San, linked to a reconnection with the land, and relative to the Khomani San’s broader socio-economic livelihood strategies.
Economic value of the Okawango Delta, Botswana, and implications for management of water and wildlife
The valuation study has been completed but is in a technical form which is not easily accessible to policy makers and academics. The budget of the project did not extend to the further refinement required to publish the work. It is proposed to further refine the study and prepare it for publication in an international journal.
Access to basic services and more generally service delivery are hot topics in the current South African political climate with the lack of services being a common cause of spontaneous public protest and rioting. The table below gives an indication of the extent of the lack of services, by race, in Cape Town – one of the study areas of the project.