Professor Kevin Chika Urama also commented on his LinkedIn page:
It was such a pleasure to meet and engage with colleagues at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Environment for Development Network (EfD) hosted in the beautiful city of Accra, Ghana. As the world grapples with several overlapping shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic; Climate Change and growing fragmentation in global governance, the time is right for innovative approaches to correct systemic gaps in existing tools, methodologies, and approaches for economic development planning and implementation.
To help decision-making and realign capital flows to climate-vulnerable countries, for example, requires a fundamental rethink of methodologies for assessing the wealth of nations, internalizing externalities of production and consumption activities (such as greenhouse gas emissions), risks and vulnerability assessments, as well as valuing the green wealth of nations; the establishment of global carbon markets that determine the correct price of carbon, and addressing significant market failures that current methodologies mask.
During the meeting, I called on colleagues in the Network - Natural Resource and Environmental Economists, Ecological Economists, and Economists of all disciplinary focus (micro, macro, or applied) to put on their thinking hats to come up with new models and approaches to drive inclusive growth and sustainable development globally.
We cannot chart the New World with the old maps. Neither should we try to solve the existential challenges the World is now facing, with the same models that created them. We cannot continue to externalize social and environmental impacts in mainstream economic models that inform policy decision-making and hope to achieve social equity and environmental sustainability. We must find new models that triangulate social, economic, and environmental goals as the objective function.
I call on the EfD Network to think outside the box and come up with new models to support the effective decoupling of economic growth from social and environmental harm. We need new methodologies that measure the true wealth of nations taking into account: (a) their green wealth (stock of natural capital); (b) produced capital (goods and services tradeable in markets); and (c) positive and negative externalities of a and b above. Countries that keep their forests to produce public goods such as carbon sequestration, and countries that cut down their forests to produce furniture for sale in markets should account for the positive and negative externalities in their Net Domestic Product (NDP). Using NDP as the measure of the wealth of Nations would drive inclusive growth and green transitions more than the current GDP which literally treats most of the impacts of economic activities on social and environmental capital as externalities.