This is Environment for Development
By Micah Moen
We have EfD centers in Africa: In Latin America we have centers in In Asia, we have centers in We also have centers in the US and in Sweden. So what we’re trying to create is truly domestic centers of excellence that can draw on the best methodologies internationally but also of course international collaborations in the research, and that need to have a basis locally know their local institutions and their local problems that they’re facing and be able to interact with policy makers and not only today but tomorrow and the next year and ten years down the line. We have identified a number of gaps that need to be addressed to reach all the way to enlightening this policy processes. I come from a developing country where I have seen a lot of poor people, where I have seen the environment being degraded and I’ve always wished I could do something about it. So then when I went to fulfill the studies I got the tools to know that there is actually something one can do to help the situation. We are trying to mentor younger researchers because we are eager to make EfD, our center, very vibrant we need more hands on the ground, and we need people who are motivated, people who are ready to work. In the EfD we are addressing the Analytical Gap through our Efd Research fund where we really encourage our local colleagues to interact with policy makers and to identify the knowledge gaps that really help improve these policies. The research fund is important to enable researchers in the EfD countries to high quality policy relevant research Since 2007 a 140 research projects where founded through the research fund and about 600 peer reviewed international publications where produced. Well, as an individual I want to be a good researcher I wanted to… and it means to do research that’s relevant and the environment to do that and that’s why I’m part of the EfD. EfD tries to solve that. We interacted with policy makers as we interacted with other researchers from abroad and new areas started opening and those areas attracted people to our program and this people brought tools like impact evaluation and they also brought interests like forestry, agriculture. That means that the agenda has been expanding since we started. The number of topics that we care about, the number of topics that we want to research is also expanding. So we need to ensure that the knowledge that is out there is actually communicating, put into place in those policy processes. This communication gap relates to the academics not having an opportunity or a possibility to speak to the policy makers who are actually controlling what is going on in the country. In most cases there´s capacity to do a lot of good research but that good research often ends up on the shelfs of an academic’s office. Those results are never communicated, those results will never get the influence in what happens on the ground. So through the creation of these centers we created a platform where there will be a meeting point between the academia and the policy makers. The fact that EfD combines research together with policy interactions allows this research to make a better impact on the livelihoods of people and also sort of like assist governments in making the right policies related to environmental issues. The need for a platform for this capacity to work with resources and to make a difference so the institutional gap we are addressing by these Efd centers and by setting up this global network of EfD centers. Developing countries, so you know they generally have their own challenges as countries. So those challenges also filter to the education sector. So, when we think about the academic environment in those kinds of contexts there is usually a shortage of facilities and in some cases, there is also shortage of capacity. You can of course create the capacity for being abroad in a good university but being inside the country having the local capacity here in a developing country means that you’re not only there to set up a problem, find a solution but you’re also there to follow up that solution and that requires a local think. Being part of this network, we would get some lessons from some other countries… and do similar studies in our own context and have a more meaningful dialogue with our policy makers. I think there’s something very special about environmental economists, we are both loving the academic part of it but we’re all very committed to making a difference to the environment and for development.