Integrating economics into resource and environment management: some recent experiences from the Pacific
Pacific Islanders rely on limited resources and other natural endowments for their economic, social, cultural and spiritual wellbeing. Many communities now face declining environmental quality and decreasing local reserves of some local resources. There is an increasing acceptance that human development cannot occur through preservation, but must include sustainable resource use too.
Resource and environmental economics can help in this endeavour by increasing understanding of human behavior in an environment like the Pacific where resources are not infinite. Through this improved understanding of behaviour –and through assessment of human values for resource use – economics can also provide critical information to enable policy makers to compare different resource use scenarios and form robust polices. However, undertaking such resource and environmental economic analysis in the Pacific island countries is not without challenges, particularly since there are data and capacity constraints and economics analysis-based decision making is in its infancy across most of the Pacific Island Countries.
In an effort to encourage information sharing amongst practitioners, a workshop of 14 resource economists from the Pacific was convened in 2009 by IUCN Oceania Regional Office, which also led to the formal launch of the Pacific Resource and Environmental Economics Network (PREEN). The collection of papers that were presented at the workshop are presented in this book as peer reviewed technical papers covering key thematic resource and environment management topics, such as waste management, fisheries management, disaster risk management, and economic costs of climate change. The chapters highlight practicalities and challenges of undertaking resource and environmental economic analysis in the Pacific, and its role in making informed decisions in the region.