EPRU held its quarterly research meeting on the 20 May 2013 at the Andros Boutique Hotel in Cape Town. The objective of the research meeting was to discuss progress and share ideas on the various research projects undertaken by EPRU and its networks.
The EfD initiative is committed to produce high quality research and active international research interaction. This is achieved by creating an environment where discussions can take place openly, where research results can be constructively criticized, and where feedback is generated.
PHD Scholarship Applications for Students pursuing studies in Environmental Economics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA) call for PhD scholarship
A Workshop on Methodologies for Pricing National Park Products will be held April 27-29 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The workshop is a continuation of the National Park Pricing Policy Workshop held in Kenya in November 2010.
As Cape Town faces the worst drought in a century, the city may need to shut off running water to homes and businesses in an effort to crisis-manage the last remaining water in the metropole's dams. ‘Day Zero’, as it has become known, is expected to arrive on 9 July, and may need to stay in place for three months.
Turn on the water tap in Cape Town, South Africa in March, and nothing will come out. For the Environment for Development researchers at the University of Cape Town, there’s nothing faraway about their work to help the city conserve water during this drought emergency.
This year the EfD annual meeting will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from: October 27-30, 2017. It is hosted by the Environment and Climate Research Center (EfD - Ethiopia) and the EfD Secretariat. The EfD annual meeting is a forum to bring together researchers from all EfD centers and their collaborators. EfD would also like to attract key stakeholders for exchange of research ideas. Updates for participants will be displayed here.
The Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) is pleased to announce a special international meeting to be held January 26-28, 2018 at New York University-Abu Dhabi.
The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) In Partnership with GIZ and the World Bank are calling for Fellowships for a PhD specialization Course on Land Economics and Governance (Jan 7- Feb 11, 2018).
Duke welcomed over 70 scholars and practitioners from 15 countries for the second annual Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI) Meeting, May 9-11, 2017.
A South African research economist recently returned from a five-month sabbatical to British Columbia where he explored whether Canada’s approach to managing river salmon, and to a lesser extent sturgeon, could be replicated successfully for in-shore coastal fisheries management here.
The traditional approach to managing watersheds globally is to do so using state regulations, or through publicly funded initiatives. A recent analysis by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) shows that using market mechanisms to incentivise better watershed management is a good complement to these more widely used methods.
PORT ELIZABETH: As long as farmers and wildlife have vied for their share of the veld here in South Africa, there has been a conflict, as the inevitable presence of wild predators has resulted in livestock loss.
We are very pleased to announce that the second meeting of the Sustainable Energy TransitionsInitiative (SETI) will take place May 9-11 at Duke University (Durham, NC).
Duke Kunshan University is now accepting applications for the new international Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) Program. The iMEP program is a two-year degree offered jointly by Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Nicholas School of the Environment. Students will study core courses in both environmental management and public policy at Duke Kunshan University (China) and Duke University (United States). We would really appreciate it if you could share this information with people who might be interested.
Two Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) on Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in Developing Countries
On January 29th 2017 the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester (UK) will launch a sequence of two Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in Developing Countries, taught by Professor Dale Whittington and Dr Duncan Thomas.
The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently released a scientific assessment of the risks and opportunities of shale gas mining, which is proposed for parts of the Karoo region of South Africa.
Healthy forests in sub-Saharan Africa are an important source of wild pollinators, and thus support agricultural productivity and food security in the region, a conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, heard this November.
CAPE TOWN: Appointing a water-saving ‘champion’ in an office block context could be one way that municipalities and companies in South Africa can respond quickly and cheaply to the water restrictions facing many parts of the country, following two years of severe drought.
South Africa’s official unemployment rate is over 25 percent. Amidst a virtually stagnant economy, it is unlikely that this will drop to the desired developing world target of below 10 percent in the foreseeable future.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Tourism in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is being held back largely by failures within other sectors, according to a leading tourism analyst and economist here.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Resource economists from seven countries met in Cape Town this April, in an effort to find a common method for calculating the value of urban green spaces, such as parks, within their region’s main cities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The immediate downstream benefits of tourism can be measured in clear economic terms for remote communities who have few employment prospects in rural Africa. But the social, environment, and political impacts are also key to driving ‘inclusive growth’ for such communities.
Smallholder farmers in Tanzania, who have seen how climate change has altered rainfall patterns and pushed up temperatures, are adapting their farming methods to meet these shifting conditions. This presents an opportunity for the government there to tailor its policies to help farmers meet future farming challenges.
Some rural communities in Zimbabwe are trying to get greater control of the income gained from hunting licenses, bypassing the regional government offices which have traditionally managed these revenues. And now, local economists want to understand if this is working to the benefit of the community, and if it’s enhancing their welfare.
South African conservation authorities could raise the daily park attendance fees for the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) by just over double, without a significant loss of visitors in response to the price hike.
Healthy natural landscapes such as veld, wetlands, rivers, and estuaries across South Africa generate value to the economy amounting to at least R275 billion per year, a new study by economists at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has found.
If Cape Town’s urban surfaces are designed to be porous and water-catching, it could help meet many of the city’s water needs through recharging the Cape Flats aquifer, while also helloing to manage rainy season flooding and stormwater pollution challenges.
PORT ELIZABETH: The collapse of the local squid fishery on the south-east coast of South Africa in 2013 has prompted an international body of scientists and policymakers to meet this September. The group will bring together different research disciplines to discuss this small but high-value export fishery, which collapsed in the summer of 2013 and 2014.
Applauding people publicly for their successful efforts to reduce water use at home may be an effective means of driving water-wise behaviour across a city.
The City of Cape Town has been working with EPRU to find an evidence-based answer to which methods are most effective in encouraging more prudent water use by the public. Prof Martine Visser, Dr Kerri Brick, and Johanna Brühl are behavioural economists at EPRU. The EPRU team was supported by Samantha De Martino from Sussex University, and Jorge Garcia from Cicero in Norway. The results assist the municipality to design policy that will help manage the city’s water supplies in an increasing climate change-stressed future. The study focuses on identifying which incentives best motivate households of different income levels to reduce their consumption.
Africa’s cities growth might have kicked off a bit later than many other developing world countries, but they are growing fast. This presents an opportunity to do so in a way that creates ‘a more harmonious relationship between their natural and built environments. This is according to a new report by the World Bank, which concludes that ‘focused action is necessary’ in order to avoid ‘largely unchecked (negative) impacts on the natural environment, and the degradation of natural assets and ecosystems within African cities’.
SETI (http://seti.duke.edu/) invites concept notes to seed collaborative research related to energy transitions. We particularly welcome proposals for work related to the SETI priority themes, including: Consequences of energy poverty, defined as a lack of reliable access to electricity and other modern fuels Drivers of the energy transition in low- and middle-income contexts, including lessons from past experiences Impacts of energy transitions at various scales (households, firms, and the regional and global environment) Policy levers and solutions to speed the energy transition; and analysis of their effectiveness Notable gaps in research on energy transitions
CAPE TOWN: The South African government has drawn up some of the most advanced environmental laws and policies on the continent, since its transition to a democratic state in 1994. In a recent overview of these, University of Cape Town (UCT) resource economist Dr Jane Turpie has identified key areas were future research is needed, in order to boost this policy further, with responses to climate change being a key theme.
CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s oceans and beaches boost the country’s economy by roughly 35 percent, in terms of the ‘goods and services’ they provide. This is highlighted in a report released recently by the local branch of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), which gives an overview of the economic value of South Africa’s marine environments.
CAPE TOWN: A study into the structure of the South African hake fishing industry, which finds that keeping the industry serviced by bigger companies is less environmentally hazardous, has won an economics student at the University of Cape Town this year’s best Honours level thesis in the School of Economics.
CAPE TOWN: A study of how small-scale farmers in the Western Cape, South Africa, shape their decisions around using conventional or organic farming methods, based on their perceived risks, has won an economics Masters student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) an award for the best thesis in her year.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: When home owners at a seaside residential complex in Milnerton, Cape Town, decided to pile up sandbags between the beach and their gardens in the early 2000s, their intention was to stop the high tide from eating away at their plots during storm surges. What they didn’t anticipate was that this erosion control measure would make their property prices fall, reduce beach space, drive away tourists, and leave the beach strewn with litter.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: When a touring group of 289 mountain bikers needs to cross legally from Botswana into Zimbabwe, and then South Africa (SA), far from any official border posts, it means setting up informal but bureaucratically-sound passport control points in dry river beds or on dirt tracks.
WORCESTER, SOUTH AFRICA: If the South African government gives the green light for private energy companies to begin extracting shale gas using the method of hydrological fracturing, or ‘fracking’, will it have economic benefits for the region and the country? And if so, could these be offset by the cost of the potential negative impacts to other sectors and communities in the water-scarce Karoo, where fracking is being considered?
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Tanzanian households, who are heavily dependent on small-holder and often subsistence farming for their livelihoods, benefit from the free ecosystem services offered by wild pollinators, which boost agriculture yields.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: Nature can help to purify the water we drink. When a forest upstream of a water treatment plant is intact and healthy, the water arriving in the plant can be of better quality than if the forest has been heavily harvested or clear-felled. Better quality water arriving in the plant, means fewer chemicals needed to clean the water, and the purification costs are therefore lower.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: A working group of resource economists met in Cape Town this April to agree on the methods they will use in order to contribute to the development of a standardised national accounting system for valuing ecosystem services.
When a country wants to tally up its economic performance, it generally uses ‘gross domestic product’ as its measuring stick. That’s a global standard of accounting, agreed upon according to the United Nations’ ‘systems of national accounting’, which allows all countries of the world to compare apples with apples in their economic reporting.
SOUTH AFRICA: Charging a premium for peak-time electricity could be an effective way of getting city consumers to spread their power use more evenly throughout the day, helping the national utility to manage the country’s grid more effectively.
Stellenbosch, South Africa: An experimental geyser control device, which is operated via the internet a smart phone app, has the potential to cut household water heating by up to 30 percent without users noticing a change to their hot water use habits.