CIESM Marine Economics Research Program
Identify the value, in economic terms, of marine ecosystems and their natural assets
Program coordinator: N ...
The overarching goal behind the new Marine Economics Research Program is to bring a socio-economics, human-welfare based perspective around the CIESM core in marine science research.
From an economical, human-welfare perspective, the overall value of the marine environment is anchored in its capacity to provide a broad, unique range of goods and services. This refers inter alia to marine food products and security (including fisheries and aquaculture, seaweed and other sea-based food), marine transport services (including shipping, ports, submarine cables and pipelines), marine energy services (including offshore hydrocarbon industries and other marine-based energy industries, e.g. wind farms), marine tourism and recreation (including coastal tourism), marine climate regulation services (including carbon sequestration), marine genetic resources. Expand
The Marine Economics Program currently focuses on three main research sectors: (1) recognizing value, (2) demonstrating value, and (3) capturing value in economic terms of marine ecosystems and their natural capital, in terms of their contribution to human-well-being.
It is essential to work with central banks and Ministries of Finance and planning across the Mediterranean region in order to see marine natural resources integrated into development planning. In this sector, CIESM will contribute to the construction of an integrated marine natural accounting information system. We intend in particular to shed light on the contribution of the marine natural assets to classical Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measurements. From a macro economic perspective, this research area is fundamental to identify market-based policy instruments that may assist in financing the conservation of the environmental and cultural capital of coastal communities.
From a marine-policy and management perspective, it is fundamental to have a robust measurement of the human welfare impacts associated to different levels of provision for marine ecosystem goods and services, associated in turn to (changes in) the overall health of the marine ecosystem. In this sector, CIESM will work at demonstrating the economic cost of a 'marine policy inaction' option/scenario by comparing the status quo option, with other states characterized by some degree of policy action (e.g., derived from the introduction of CIESM coast-to-coast marine Peace Parks). From a micro policy perspective, this research area is fundamental as it will provide crucial information to marine natural resources managers "who cannot manage effectively what they do not value".
One of the most important challenge that decision makers face when considering different policy options, is how to integrate new problem-solving approaches with existing administrative, planning and management schemes. In real situations the complexity of territorial dynamics and the fragmentation of competences make it difficult to implement scientific findings and recommendations into the policy and planning processes. In this area, the economic research focus will analyse of the rich world of institutions and governance systems (having the market). The difficulties in marine governance arise mainly because the provision of ecosystem goods and services is considered a collective-action problem, i.e. the efforts of many individuals are needed in order to achieve joint outcomes. This effort is translated by introducing mechanisms that incorporate the values of ecosystems into decision making at all levels of organization, ranging from decisions made in a household to a community, a regional or national government, and international regimes.
By nature, the CIESM Marine Economics Research Program has for mission to represent the specific Mediterranean interests in the relevant CIESM international endeavours. Concrete collaborations with the World Bank, UNEP, and IPBES are ongoing.
Cooperative projects with:
1) World Bank / UNEP: WAVES Global partnership Expand
Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) is a global partnership, launched at the Convention on Biological Diversity Nagoya Meeting in October 2010, which aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that the national accounts used to measure, and plan for, economic growth include the value of natural resources. The program has now entered a four-year implementation phase (2012-2016). This global partnership brings together a broad coalition of UN Agencies, Governments, international Agencies such as CIESM, nongovernment organizations and academics to implement environmental accounting where there are internationally agreed standards, and develop standard approaches for environmental and ecosystem service accounting.
A key component of WAVES is the Policy and Technical Experts Committee (PTEC)1, established to guide development and testing of scientifically credible methodologies for ecosystem accounting; to identify opportunities to contribute to policy and mainstreaming, and to ensure cohesion, consistency and scalability among the country studies.
(1) Glenn-Marie Lange (World Bank) and Pushpam Kumar (UNEP) are co-leaders of the WAVES PTEC.
More info at www.wavespartnership.org/waves/
From a national perspective, all countries rely on a system of National accounting, but key information is missing with respect to marine goods and services, or invisible (deriving from depletion and degradation of marine natural capital, including living resources, offshore mining, etc. By working with Mediterranean Ministries of finance and planning across the Mediterranean basin, together with national partners at the central banks, we seek to integrate marine natural resources into development planning through environmental accounting.
World Bank, 2012. Moving Beyond GDP http://www.wavespartnership.org/waves/moving-beyond-gdp
2) EU / DG Research and Innovation: VECTORS project; MICRO B3 project Expand
VECTORS project: Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors (VECTORS) is a European Commission FP7 project. It aims to improve our understanding of how environmental and man-made factors are impacting marine ecosystems and how they will do so in the future. The project also examines how these changes will affect the range of goods and services provided by the oceans, the ensuing socio-economic impacts and some of the measures that could be developed to mitigate or adapt to these changes.
More info at http://www.marine-vectors.eu/
CIESM contributionMICRO B3 project:
Given its broad experience in areas such as marine biodiversity, ocean health, marine invasive species, jellyfish blooms, etc., CIESM is engaging new collaborations to explore the socio-economic interests of the different stakeholders (including coastal tourism) concerned. CIESM further explores the marine based sector via macro-economic modelling exercises and their application to the Mediterranean basin as a tool for policy guidance.
The EU 7FP project Micro B3 (Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology) develops innovative bioinformatic approaches and a legal framework to make large-scale data on marine viral, bacterial, archaeal and protists genomes and metagenomes accessible for marine ecosystems biology and to define new targets for biotechnological applications. Micro B3 is based on an interdisciplinary consortium of academic and industrial partners which comprises leading experts in bioinformatics, molecular biology, ecology, oceanography, bioprospecting and biotechnology, as well as legal specialists. The exercise will facilitate detecting candidate genes to be explored by targeted laboratory experiments for biotechnology. Micro B3 will develop clear IP agreements for the protection and sustainable use of pre-competitive microbial genetic resources and their exploitation in high potential commercial applications.
More info at http://www.microb3.eu/
CIESM input on MicroB3 is two-fold:
- Analyse genetic/biological material access and transfer agreements in order to define optimal contracts aligning marginal incentives ex ante and preventing wasteful efforts in ex post redistribution of existing surplus.
- Draft a Chart of Conduct for sampling biological resources, integrating economic, scientific and legal insights, which will be implemented during the Ocean Sampling Day.
3) United Nations / IPBES Platform: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Expand
IPBES is an interface between the scientific community and policymakers that aims at building capacity for and strengthen the use of science in policymaking. In this context, IPBES will be responding to requests for scientific information related to biodiversity and ecosystem services from Governments, relevant multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bodies, as well as other relevant stakeholders. Governments have agreed that the four main functions of IPBES will be:
1. To identify and prioritize key scientific information needed for policymakers
and to catalyse efforts so as to generate new knowledge;
2. To perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services
and their interlinkages;
3. To support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools
4. To prioritize key capacity-building needs to improve the science-policy interface, and to provide
and call for financial and other support for the highest-priority needs related directly to its activities.
More info at http://www.ipbes.net/
The CIESM Marine Economics Research Program will take its place as a designated member of the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel that starts its activities in early January 2013.
CIESM Marine Economics Task Force
The Marine Economics Program, in true CIESM style, will rely on the collective wisdom of an International Advisory Task Force, pulling together reputed economists whose research interests include the study of biodiversity and ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea.
Representative papers stemming from the CIESM Marine Economics Program:
• Ghermandi and Nunes, 2013. "A global map of coastal recreation values: Results from a spatially explicit meta-analysis" Ecological Economics, 86: 1-15. Download
• Onofri and Ding, 2012. "An Economic Model for Bioprospecting Contracts" International Journal of Ecological Economics & Statistics, 26(3): 48-86. Download