Sweden gives 2.3 million euro to environmental economics programme

The purpose of the grants is to enable young scientists from developing countries to study at the doctoral level at the University in 2010 and to support environmental economics research centres in Africa, Central America and China. An expert group formed to serve Sida with environmental economic advice will also benefit from the money.

“We are of course very happy that Sida and the University of Gothenburg are choosing to invest in environmental economics as a measure to deal with difficult environmental problems that always hit poor countries the hardest,” says Gunnar Köhlin, associate professor at the EEU, University of Gothenburg, and director of the Environment for Development initiative, which is part of the environmental-economics programme that now has received funding for another year.

In environmental economics, economic methods are used to analyse the emergence of environmental problems, conduct environmental evaluations – especially in areas where no market prices are available – and select policy instruments to manage environmental problems and attain sustainable use of natural resources.

Gunnar Köhlin and Thomas Sterner, professor, started building up the Environmental Economics Unit within the Department of Economics already in the early 1990s.

Grants from Sida have enabled 20 researchers from developing countries to earn doctorates in environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg since 1998. The list of external examiners of doctoral theses includes Elinor Ostrom, the 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Around 160 students from various developing countries have completed specialised courses in environmental economics.

After earning their doctoral degrees, researchers from developing countries often continue working with environmental economists at the University of Gothenburg. The Environment for Development initiative offers opportunities for international research collaborations, and environmental economics centres for research, education and consultation are under development at universities and research institutions in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Costa Rica and China.

The new grant will also fund an expert group in environmental economics formed within the Environmental Economics Unit. The purpose of the group is to provide Sida staff with guidance and advice.

“The negotiations at the Copenhagen conference are currently in the intense final phase. New suggestions on financing of capacity building and climate adaptation in low-income countries are being discussed. Many countries are in urgent need of improved research capacity, such as trained researchers, to be able to understand and analyse what needs to be done and, really, to be able to participate in international negotiations,” says Sterner.

For more information, please contact:
Gunnar Köhlin, associate professor at the EEU, and director of the Environment for Development initiative
+46 (0)31 786 44 26, +46 (0)705 35 05 08
gunnar.kohlin@economics.gu.se
Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics
+46 (0)31 786 13 77, +46 (0)708 16 33 06
thomas.sterner@economics.gu.se

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