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Showcasing Impact of Environmental Economics Research in Southeast Asia

Close to 60 leading experts from Southeast Asia gathered for a two-day conference in Hanoi last week to discuss and present strong evidence on how environmental economics research has made an impact on development in the region.

The group also discussed ways to further enhance the contribution of research to policymaking in the region with policy makers from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, who were at the meeting.

“Economic, environment and social well-being will depend on how well environmental resources are managed,” said Herminia Francisco, Director of the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), which organized the conference. “Research offers opportunities to improve management of environment and natural resources and we want to showcase examples where this influence has taken place", she added.

The EEPSEA Program , which has given out close to 250 research grants and organized about 50 training courses for more than 1,300 individuals, was established in May 1993 by the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC). Its goal is to strengthen local capacity for the economic analysis of environmental problems so that researchers can provide sound advice to policy-makers in Southeast Asia. The Canadian International Development Agency and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency have joined IDRC as co-sponsors of EEPSEA.

During the conference, 40 cases were presented, illustrating how EEPSEA support has helped policymakers and governments in Southeast Asia formulate sound development policies, strengthened academic institutions in teaching courses in environmental economics, and contributed to the personal and career growth of researchers.

Two examples of important research outputs from EEPSEA are a book on Indonesia’s fires and the haze problem in 1999 and, more recently, a map showing the areas most vulnerable to climate change in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The climate change vulnerability map was launched in Hanoi during IDRC’s 40th Anniversary celebration on February 25, 2010, although it has been distributed and reported on widely in the region since it was produced last year.

Richard Fuchs, Regional Director for IDRC’s Southeast and East Asia office, said that climate change and adaptation strategies are pressing environmental issues that are now emerging and more research is necessary to help local government offices make informed choices and decisions.

The EEPSEA model of helping to build local capacity through environmental economics research and training has been replicated by IDRC in other regions of the world – in South Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa.

Dr David Glover, who first set up EEPSEA, and now heads the global Environmental Economics Program at IDRC says, "What began as a small meeting among researchers 16 years ago has grown into a prominent network influencing environmental and natural resource policy decisions in the Southeast Asia region."

Notes to editors:
As an output of the Conference, an Impact Report will be produced as a sequel to the 1993-1998 and 993-2000 EEPSEA Impact Reports.
About IDRC –
IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most.
About EEPSEA –
Established in 1993, EEPSEA supports training and research in environmental & resource economics. It uses a networking approach to provide financial and technical support to researchers in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, China and Papua New Guinea. Its goal is to strengthen local capacity for the economic analysis of environmental problems so that researchers can provide sound advice to policymakers.

Vivien Chiam | Research asia research news
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