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Policy Interaction Stories

Policy advice is one of the pillars of the EfD initiative, together with research and academic training. EfD strives to build a bridge between training and research, on the one hand, and policy design and decision making on the other. We are convinced that local academic capacity in environmental economics could greatly enhance the sustainability of economic policies. In order to have such impact, we need to invest in the interface between academia and government policy formulation. Below are some examples of successful policy interactions.


    Stakeholder Meeting to Discuss Priority Research and Training Needs

    EEPFE held a half-day meeting with representatives from four of the major government-level stakeholders working on environmental issues- the Ministry of Water and Energy, Environmental Protection Authority, Ministry of Agriculture - Natural Resource Directorate and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority - to discuss priority research and training needs on May 3, 2012.


      Promoting EEPFE and Policy Interaction

      Promoting EEPFE in different platforms has been a resourceful means of increasing awareness of the existence of the forum and hence a way of promoting environmental economics throughout the country. These platforms are an effective means of disseminating resources such as discussion papers and brochures and a great opportunity for policy interaction. With this objective in mind, EEPFE has participated in high level policy dialogues and workshops through exhibitions and displays.


      Climate Change hits Africa the hardest – what can be done?

      Ethiopia risking average income cut of 30 percent The impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity may reduce the Ethiopian average income by as much as 30 percent within the next 50 years. This and other EfD findings on how climate change is hitting Africa, and in particular Ethiopia, were presented to 60 workshop participants from government, NGOs and multilateral organizations assembled in Addis Abeba. Strategies for adaptation, mitigation and a stronger position in international climate negotiations were discussed.


      REDD may lead to the revival of colonialism

      “If we aren’t careful, a system like REDD may lead to a revision of colonialism. The crucial problem is that we in Tanzania don´t have the required facts about our own forests,” said Professor Claude Mung'ong'o of University of Dar es Salaam's Institute of Resource Assessment to the audience of policy makers and researchers attending the Policy Day of the fifth EfD Annual Meeting 2011.


        Park Pricing Workshop in Zimbabwe completed

        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.


        Reporting average electricity consumption makes households consume less

        Reporting to people about their own and the average consumption of electricity caused all kinds of households in suburbs of Cape Town to significantly reduce their electricity consumption. This is the conclusion of initial research results from EfD South Africa. Households in the middle income suburbs were the most responsive, followed by lower income suburbs. The upper income suburbs responded the least.


        EfD research addresses Beijing´s congestion and air pollution

        Beijing is the world´s most congested city as measured by average vehicle speed. It is also one of the most air polluted cities, with a substantial part of the emissions coming from vehicles. To find effective policy instruments to address these serious urban challenges, Environment for Development in China/the Environmental Economics Program in China (EEPC) and Beijing Transportation Research Center are collaborating in a research program.


          Lowering household electricity consumption: a collaboration with the City of Cape Town

          Associate Professor Martine Visser and Grant Smith has been involved in an ongoing project involving the role of social norms in lowering household electricity consumption. This entails a natural field experiment where a subset of households across Cape Town from different income groups are provided with information about their relative consumption compared to that of the rest of the city and also their neighbourhood. In total 6310 households are included in the sample. The study has been done in close collaboration with different departments within the Municipality of Cape Town.


          Success factors for rural drinking water supply identified by EfD Costa Rica researchers

          Why can some communities succeed in solving collective problems such as provision of drinking water while others fail? Róger Madrigal, EfD Research Fellow, conducted fieldwork in 41 Costa Rican rural villages in order to identify success and failure factors. He made a substantial effort to present the results in an accessible way to people from all the communities as well as to academic peers and high level policy makers.


          The environment-poverty reduction nexus needs more attention in Kenya

          EfD Kenya notes in its commissioned report for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that environmental issues are recognized as important at very high levels of planning in Kenya. Still, the environment-poverty reduction nexus has not received its due attention in terms of policy prioritization, money allocation, political and civil society support, and actual implementation.


            UNEP: Environment Outlook Workshops

            The series of meetings organized by UNEP and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) were meant to expose the authors involved in the development of the Kenya State of Environment Report to policy relevant issues that each sub-sector of the environment needs to address.


            Sustainable growth is key in Tanzania´s MKUKUTA 2011-2015

            When President Jakaya Kikwete recently signed Tanzania´s new National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, it was a milestone to celebrate for EfD Research Fellow John Kedi Mduma. Since 2007 he has been involved in monitoring and reviewing the national strategy. Now he is in the middle of designing the Implementation Guide for the forward-looking strategy for 2011-2015, known as MKUKUTA II in Kiswahili.


            Kenya State of Environment Report

            EfD-Kenya actively participated in the preparation of the Kenya State of Environment (SoE) Report. Preparation of the SoE 2010 report was spearheaded by United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).


              International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) Conference, Olderburg and Bremen, Germany

              The 11th Biennial ISEE Conference, 2010 took place from 22 – 25 August, 2010 with the theme: “Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crises”. The conference was held in the two adjacent cities of Bremen and Oldenburg. Geophrey SIkei of EfD-K presented a paper on ''Environmental Conservation, Poverty, Labour hoarding and Output Markets in Africa: Evidence from Western Kenya''


                EfD Tanzania contributes to national strategy for poverty reduction

                A sharper and more focused national strategy for growth and poverty reduction for the coming five years – that is the aim of an ongoing rigorous review of Tanzania´s first National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP). EfD researcher John Ked Mduma is a technical advisor to the review process under the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, and EfD Coordinator Dr. Razack Lokina provides research studies, commissioned by the Government, to fill certain information gaps.


                Research-policy dialogue improves drinking water management

                “To do high-quality research, you need to find out what policy makers need and nurture the interaction,” says Maria Angelica Naranjo, EfD researcher in Central America. Her research colleagues Roger Madrigal and Francisco Alpízar are exploring why some Costa Rican communities are successful in drinking water management while others are not. Policy makers and local communities are already using some of the researchers’ recommendations to bring change.


                Research helps save Costa Rica’s beaches

                Unplanned, aggressive coastal development is threatening beautiful beaches. To help address one of Costa Rica’s most serious environmental problems, researchers from the Environment for Development initiative (EfD) are evaluating the performance and impact of a voluntary environmental regulation and certification initiative called the Blue Flag Ecological Program.


                  Highlights in 2009

                  EfD- Kenya will be participating in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budgetary process. The contribution will be to review the 'Environment, Water and Sanitation' consideration in the budgetary process.  


                  Anchovy - from fishmeal to food for people

                  South Africa´s anchovy catch is predominantly used for fishmeal, despite the fact that a redirection of the resource towards human consumption could provide nutrition for the rural poor, create employment in coastal regions, and develop new opportunities in the fisheries industry. EfD researchers are sought out by the Marine and Coastal Management, Department of Environmental Affairs, to participate in an inter-disciplinary investigation of the feasibility of utilizing a resource portion of anchovy landings for direct human consumption.


                  "Kenya's natural resources need economic instruments"

                  EfD researchers invited to public hearing: "Policy processes provide windows of opportunity to discuss research results, highlight the importance of natural resources to the economy – and get impact," says Paul Guthiga. Guthiga is one of the EfD research fellows who were invited by Kenya´s Ministry of Finance to a public sector hearing held to discuss the draft budget proposal on Environment, Water and Sanitation for 2009-2011.


                  Kenya's natural resources need economic instruments

                  EfD researchers invited to public hearing: "Policy processes provide windows of opportunity to discuss research results, highlight the importance of natural resources to the economy – and get impact," says Paul Guthiga. Guthiga is one of the EfD research fellows who were invited by Kenya´s Ministry of Finance to a public sector hearing held to discuss the draft budget proposal on Environment, Water and Sanitation for 2009-2011.


                  Green accounting puts price on Ethiopian soil erosion and deforestation

                  Ethiopia loses large amounts of money due to deforestation and soil erosion. Recent research shows in monetary terms the value of the country’s natural resources and the costs of soil degradation. It also reveals that official government reports greatly underestimate the contribution of forests and soil resources to the national economy. A way for decision makers to address the problems is to adopt natural resource accounting.


                    Networking and local language are keys to successful research communication

                    Networking with non-governmental organizations and use of the local language proved to be crucial for successful communication of Ethiopian research findings. “Thanks to this, our workshop attracted influential experts and policy makers, and their participation was very active,” says Dr Alemu Mekonnen, researcher at the Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia (EEPFE) and coordinator of EfD in Ethiopia.


                    Forest Day: "Forests can both reduce CO2 emissions and increase welfare"

                    For ten years he has pointed to forests as a major asset for sustainable development in China. Finally and just in time for the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, China’s national leaders are as convinced as professor Jintao Xu: Forests have a unique potential to contribute to sustainable economic development and a reduction of China's massive carbon emissions.


                      Guthiga chose to return to Kenya

                      "EfD gave me a smooth transition to my home country after my studies in Europe", says Paul Maina Guthiga, research fellow of EfD in Kenya. He is currently focusing on the anticipated economics impacts of implementing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mitigation scheme, as well as ongoing forest reforms in Kenya. 


                        "Land governance is of great importance to EfD Tanzania"

                        Dr John Mduma, EfD research fellow at EfD Tanzania participated in the conference "Land Governance in Support of the Millennium Development Goals: Responding to new challenges", held in Washington DC, March 9-10, 2009. He shares his experiences and thoughts in an interview below.


                        EfD focuses on China’s topical forest policy

                        ”It has been widely acknowledged that lack of appropriate mechanisms and incentives in the state forest sector, as well as lack of secure forest tenure for farmers in the collective forest sector, underpin severe poverty in forested areas and unsatisfactory performance of forest resource conservation", says Professor Jintao Xu, the coordinator of EfD in China and one of China’s most prominent experts in forestry economics.


                          Jintao Xu never planned to be an environmental economist

                          Professor Jintao Xu, the coordinator of EfD in China and one of China´s most prominent experts in forestry economics, did not really plan to become an environmental economist. ”From the beginning it was just by accident. My application material for studying industrial management was picked up by Beijing Forestry University. 


                            Peter Parks loves life as a professor

                            ”I love teaching. It is the best part of my job,” says Peter Parks, professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, and an EfD Research Associate. 2008 is the tenth year he has been asked to come to teach in Natural Resource Economics at the University of Gothenburg. Students from 17 countries are attending his course. 


                              Francisco Alpizar gets his boots muddy

                              ”I want to create a research environment that works like an academy but with people who are prepared to get their boots muddy – ready to go out into the field and to contact policy makers,” says Francisco Alpizar, coordinator of the EfD in Central America.