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.
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.
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.
The Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) is working closely with local protected areas authorities, SANParks, in tackling the main difficulties in achieving a sustainable system of NPA.
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.
"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.
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.
This article was written by Damas Mwita and published in the daily Tanzanian newspaper THISDAY 2009-02-23. The article was based on an EfD Tanzania press release 2009-02-20.
”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.
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.
Razack Lokina grew up as the son of a small coffee farmer in the village of Msangeni, in the Mwanga District of the Kilimanjaro Region. Now he is a fellow researcher and coordinator at the EfD center in Tanzania.
This is an example of how EfD research can influence policies for Sustainable Financing of Protected Areas in Costa Rica.
”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.
”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.
This is an example of how EfD research can influence policy, more specifically Forest tenure reform in China.
This is an example of how EfD research can influence policies for Sustainable Land Management, Forest Policy, and Climate Change Adaptation in Ethiopia.