Environmental Management in Developing Countries

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8 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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6
Environmental Management in
Developing Countries
Editor’s Note
Twenty years ago, in Rio de Janeiro, the first
United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development put environmental manage-
ment in developing countries on the map
and helped spur considerable progress.
Nevertheless, the environmental problems
confronting delegates to this year’s Rio+20
conference are at least as daunting.
Dirty air and water in developing coun-
tries kill and sicken millions each year.
Degraded forest, freshwater, and coastal
ecosystems undercut livelihoods and
threaten biodiversity. And fossil fuel use,
deforestation, and other activities gener-
ate about half of global greenhouse gas
emissions. At the same time, environmental
regulatory institutions are still relatively
weak, and poverty and other social prob-
lems continue to place enormous demands
on scarce financial, political, and regulatory
resources.
RFF has a long history of engagement in
developing countries as part of its mission
to improve environmental and natural
resource policymaking worldwide. As early
as the 1970s, RFF posted researchers to
satellite offices in Mexico and Chile and
translated RFF books into Spanish. In the
1980s and 1990s, a group of RFF researchers
began to specialize in developing-country
environmental problems and policies. And
for the past five years, RFF has helped the
University of Gothenburg in Sweden lead
the Environment for Development (EfD)
initiative, a consortium of six environmental
policy research institutes (in Africa, Asia, and
Latin America) that aims to support poverty
alleviation and environmental management
through the increased use of environmental
economics in the policymaking process.
This issue of Resources showcases
research and policy commentary on press-
ing environmental and natural resource
issues in developing countries by leading
researchers at RFF, its EfD sister-centers,
and other notable affiliates. Articles by
Róger Madrigal-Ballestero on drinking water
systems in Costa Rica and by Jintao Xu and
Juha Siikamäki on forest tenure reform in
China both show how natural resource
management can be enhanced by devolv-
ing control to local communities that have
the strong incentives to manage them
sustainably. My article on eco-certification
of Costa Rican and Colombian coffee
presents some of the first hard evidence
that this market-based approach, which
circumvents weak regulation, can actually
help improve environmental management.
The articles by Drew Shindell on develop-
ing-country soot and methane emissions
and by Maureen Cropper and Kabir Malik on
electricity generation in India make compel-
ling cases for controlling air pollution to
protect human health and enhance food
security. More broadly, Ed Barbier discusses
a number of innovative international
mechanisms for financing environmental
management in developing countries.
While sobering, the overall message is far
from discouraging—all of the articles high-
light promising approaches to overcoming
the environmental and social challenges
developing countries face.
Allen Blackman,
Rff senior fellow and Guest editor
blackman@rff.org