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Tracking water use trends in SA’s ‘mother city’

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: In informal settlements and lower income homes in Cape Town, most household water use is for doing laundry. However, in the middle class suburbs, it’s mostly for showering and topping up swimming pools. This finding, from a recent municipal survey in five suburbs across South Africa’s ‘mother city’, underpins an ongoing drive to educate city residents about their water use patterns, in order to urge behaviour change.


Utilities-based funding model is a problem in SA cities

CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s bigger cities get a large amount of their revenue from the sale of electricity and water to consumers. And owing to the pricing structure of these services, cities earn more from large-volume users, and use this revenue to cross-subsidise smaller volume users, who often fall in lower income communities.


EfD Kenya hosted their Research Day

EfD Kenya in collaboration with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis – (KIPPRA) held its Research Day on March 3rd 2016, at the Nairobi Safari Club, Nairobi.


ECRC held Annual Review Meeting with Norwegian Embassy

On Thursday March 10, the Embassy attended the annual meeting with the Environment and Climate Research Center (ECRC). ECRC officially launched in February 2015 after a year-and-half of ground work. Norway signed an agreement with Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) in June 2015 to support the establishment of the research center.


Research and policy interaction workshop in Tanzania

A workshop for researchers and decision makers organized by the Environment for Development Initiative in Tanzania (EfDT) on 29th February, 2016 was of great interest and success. The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for interaction with stakeholders by  opening up discussions on research and policy issues in Tanzania.


Economists hail Cape wetland conservation

Local economics researchers have hailed the announcement this month that the City of Cape Town will reverse a decision to sell a section of the Princess Vlei wetland near Diep River to developers, who planned to build a shopping mall.


EfD Tanzania policy interaction & dissemination workshop

On January 29th , 2016 the EfDT secretariat organized the policy interaction and dissemination workshop that was held at Hazina square, Ministry of Finance, in Dodoma, a capital city of Tanzania which is about 460 km from Dar es Salaam. The workshop was organized to present four research papers and one report falling within Environmental Economics and poverty.  


Sharing the Berg River’s contested waters

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA  The water flowing down the Berg River, towards the Cape West Coast and Saldanha Bay, is the lifeblood of two competing sectors: heavy industry, and agriculture. But as demand for this limited resource grows, how do the water managers decide who gets access to it, when the water in the river is already fully allocated between existing users?


Research flows into new water prices

Academic research made a real connection with the lives of poor residents of Nairobi, Kenya, when the Nairobi City Water and Sewer Company’s decreased the price for water bought at public kiosks.


    Sida supports EfD for five more years – and the network is expanding

    The Environment for Development Initiative (EfD) has recently received the positive news of another five years of financial support from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. With the continued support, EfD is planning on extending the network.


    Knowing angler ‘hotspots’ could help enforce catch limits

    Anglers along the South African coastline choose their fishing spots on the likelihood of catching the most fish, rather than how far they have to walk to get to the spot, or weather conditions. Knowing where these fishing ‘hotspots’ are could help authorities enforce catch limits, as line fish stocks have depleting dramatically in recent years.


    Debunking Africa’s ‘resource curse’

    Not all economists buy into the notion of the ‘resource curse’ - namely, that resource-rich countries end up with slower growth and stalled development, in spite of having bankable natural assets. Newly appointed associate professor Mare Sarr argues that principles of transparency, accountability and institutions are more important factors leading to whether countries use or abuse their natural wealth.


    EfD Tanzania project winner “Utilization of Research results for Improved Livelihood”

    The University of Dar es Salaam organized a Research Week exhibition that was held in March 2015. This was organized in order to increase visibility of the output of UDSM academic staff in the area of research and its contribution in solving national problems.  The event was the first of its kind as each unit participated.  It was organized at two levels; namely unit (Colleges/Schools/Institutes) level and university level. The theme of research week was “Utilization of Research Results for Improved Livelihood”.


    Don’t oversell nature’s services in cities, scientist warns

    Natural spaces within city limits, such as wetlands or forests, can offer important support to cities in terms of helping to manage waste water, or slow down flood waters. But scientists shouldn’t over-sell certain of these ecosystem services when lobbying for their protection with city managers, because it could lead to greater pressure being put on these already over-pressured systems.


    What’s the ‘play’ value of SA’s Kogelberg coast?

    The beautiful Kogelberg coastline - a 100 km long stretch of towering mountains and craggy beaches about an hour’s drive east of Cape Town - and its surrounding tourist attractions are estimated to have a ‘recreational value’ of about US$27.2 million (ZAR272 million) annually.


    Zimbabwean peasant farmers could learn from commercial conservationists

    Zimbabwe’s community-based conservation approach, which brings together peasant farmers in a tourism-focused approach to wildlife management, has not curbed poaching along the edge of protected areas as intended. And communities haven’t benefited as much from the income they hoped to gain from selling hunting licences, either.


    Zimbabwean economist gets UCT professorship

    Newly appointed professor Edwin Muchapondwa has travelled a long way since he left his home town of Bindura, near Harare, when he was eight years old. Over three decades later, the conservation and development challenges of rural Zimbabwe remain front and centre for the University of Cape Town (UCT) economist.


    CASCADE Project reviews its progress and prepares for 2016

    As part of its Third Annual Meeting, members of the CASCADE project, which is co-led by Conservation International (CI) and CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education), reviewed the overall progress of the initiative as well as the main results obtained in the different lines of research.


    Towards a Workable and Effective Climate Regime-new e book out

    This year, for the first time ever, nearly all of the world’s countries are making pledges to help limit future climate change. As of October 1st, 147 countries, representing about 85 percent of global emissions, have submitted their “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs).


    EPRU brings ‘neutral’ view to Namibia mining question

    The Namibian government is considering whether or not to open up its offshore phosphate deposits for dredge mining. But before it does so, it wants to make a careful and considered decision based on independent analysis of the likely impacts on the environment, and how other competing industries might be affected.


    Government’s role in promoting tourism

    Southern African states need to create the right policy, fight corruption and build infrastructure if they want tourism to thrive in their countries. By doing so, they will allow the economic development potential of the sector to trickle down to communities in a way that encourages inclusive and sustainable growth.


    Private ecotourism can drive rural development

    When ecotourism lodges employ people from within some remote communities in Southern Africa, they are often giving them their first permanent job. This highlights the importance of these staff being given adequate training as they fill their posts.


      Despite significant progress- improved or new Chinese reforms are needed

      The EfD policy day brought together researchers and policy makers in discussions on improving transportation and forest policies with a focus on the Chinese context. The country has experienced a dramatic increase in economic growth during the past decades. One consequence has been a veritable explosion in the number of passenger cars increasing from 23 to 120 million in only ten years. Problems of air pollution and congestion have followed.The morning session was held against this background with inputs from Professor Daoli Zhu, Associate professors Ping Qin and Haitao Yin and Mike Toman of the World Bank.


        Paris 2015 and beyond: Cooling the climate debate

        On October 29-30, 2015 ,Thomas Sterner, together with the French professor of economic theory and social organization at the Collège de France, Roger Guesnerie, hosted  the climate workshop "Paris 2015 and beyond, cooling the climate debate" where several of the world's top climate economists participated.


        Mäler Scholarship in Environmental Economics: Call for applications

        The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics is  announcing a new round of the Mäler Scholar competition. The institute is an international center of excellence at the interface of ecology and economics. It is based in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden and has a small staff of researchers who work on a variety of ecological-economics issues. The scholarship is intended for early-career researchers in environmental economics from developing regions of the world who already have a PhD or are currently enrolled in a PhD program and will finish within 1-2 years. Preference is given to researchers affiliated with EfD centers and the four regional environmental economics networks—CEEPA, EEPSEA, LACEEP, and SANDEE. Others are welcome to apply.  Deadline for applications is October 30.


        EPRU fellow takes top economics PhD award

        How will people behave as they’re faced with the challenges of climate change? Will they work together to cut carbon emissions, in the interest of the greater good, or will they act in their own self-interest? And how much of a gamble will people take as they grapple with how to cope with living in a world where extreme weather events become the new ‘normal’?


        Award winning dissertation, in brief.

        Dr Kerri Brick recently won the prestigious Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA) prize for the best doctoral dissertation submitted in 2014. The Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) fellow, based at the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics, submitted a thesis based on four papers which explore how people might respond to different aspects of the challenges which climate change presents society.


        Rich get richer in Ethiopian forests

        Since the Ethiopian government has changed the nature of forestry related property rights in order to allow communities in south-western Ethiopia to harvest timber and other resources in state forests, these communities have benefited from increased income as they now sell timber, wild coffee and honey.


        EPRU associate scoops ‘young scientist’ award

        It was a spontaneous turn off her intended route through Oxford 17 years ago, and into a side street, that led geographer Gina Ziervogel into the lobby of a building that would become the institutional home where she gained her doctorate, and launched her into a career that recently landed her a top research award here in South Africa.


        African tourism: the ‘multiplier’ effect

        For every one person employed by certain high-end tourism lodges in southern Africa, seven people benefit from the downstream flow of that income. Meanwhile, staff employed in these sorts of ventures help grow the local economy by spending their wages at community stores where they do their grocery shopping. Or they drive secondary employment through hiring people for child care or to tend their livestock while they work. Or they’re sending their children to school.