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The green economy and resource (water and land) degradation in developing countries

In assessing the potential of environmental change to influence economic activities as well as quality of life at various levels (e.g. equitable access to food, water and energy, security, health), multiple dimensions interact and play a role. These include inter alia the extent to which people and sectors rely on environmental resources and inputs (or on inputs that in turn rely on natural resources, such as hydro-power), the risk and exposure to environmental change (including climate change, but also more short-term floods and droughts), and the direction of environmental change and the consequential effects on ecosystem functions. Relationships can also be assessed at different levels: much of the recent Green Economy indicator work is aimed at national-level accounting systems, likely to be more useful on the level of sectors and industries, aggregated exports, groups of people. It remains to be seen to what extent these indicators can be useful for more micro-oriented assessment on quality of life components, such as security of food, water and energy, security, and health.

This project aims to:

-          Map schematically the links between developing country economies (including the informal economy) and renewable natural resources (the ‘natural asset base’, building, where feasible, on the OECD green economy indicators); specifically looking at the links between economic performance and availability and access to land, energy (hydro, traditional) and water.

-          Identify pathways along which the degradation of these resources (broadly defined, i.e. the loss of goods and services provided by terrestrial ecosystem services, including soil, vegetation, and the ecological and hydro­logical processes) can affect the wider economy (for instance influence incomes, inflation and commodity price levels, productivity, trade, employment, income inequality).

-          Identify pathways in which the protection of natural assets can promote growth (green growth as presented in the World Bank’s Inclusive Green Growth report, OECD’s work on green growth, and the ERD2012). 


Anna Locke, Steve Wiggins, Jodie Keane, Eva Ludi, and Roger Calow, Marie-Agnes Jouanjean, Josephine Tucker

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