United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies


United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies

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Do Carmo M.S.,Grande Rio University | De Oliveira J.A.P.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2010

The rise of environmentalism and the opportunities for profiting from waste have changed thewaysociety sees recyclers' work from something dirty and nasty (negative semantics) to a much more positive view (positive semantics), such as people doing good for the environment and saving resources. How have the semantics of garbage affected the organizations (cooperatives) of recycling workers? On the one hand, this change has facilitated their organization and brought public support to the cooperatives, as recyclers had struggled to be accepted by society and by governments. On the other hand, the positive semantics have led cooperatives to face much fiercer competition from private recycling firms, especially in the profitable"high end" waste, making recyclers' lives and their collective organization harder. This study analyzes the public interventions in three cooperatives in the city of Rio de Janeiro in order to understand the main obstacles recyclers have faced to organize themselves and how those obstacles evolved over time due to semantic changes. The article concludes that a more positive semantics of garbage may be necessary, but not a sufficient condition to improve the well-being of recyclers, as positive semantics can also bring negative effects, particularly in their incomes. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Duraiappah A.K.,United International University Dhanmondi | Asah S.T.,University of Washington | Brondizio E.S.,Indiana University | Kosoy N.,McGill University | And 4 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2014

Hardin in his seminal paper described the management of the commons as a tragedy. Three decades later, Ostrom and colleagues argued that the management of the commons was more of a drama than a tragedy. They identified that the management of common pool resources is dependent on the institutions at play at the specific scale and across scales and the various stakeholders involved in the access and use of these resources. In this paper we go one step further by arguing that the plurality of values within and across individuals coupled with the spatial scales at which different institutions are organized and at which ecosystem services are produced create mismatches in the management of the New Commons. We define the New Commons as the mosaic of land, water, and climate, and their underlying processes that regulate ecosystem structure and functions to maintain a sustainable supply of common pool resources for human well-being. A conceptual framework capturing these mis-matches and the multiple spatial scales at which ecosystems provide services is presented in this paper. This framework sheds new light on the key inter-linkages among nature and human well-being which the newly established Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is expected to address. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Mauerhofer V.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Hubacek K.,University of Maryland University College | Coleby A.,University of Leeds
Ecology and Society | Year: 2013

Should society have the right to freely available clean air and water, or should people be required to pay for these as commodities just as they do for many other goods or services that they consume? With this question and further questions on environmental governance in mind, we reviewed the paradigm shift in natural resource management from the polluter pays principle (PPP), which focuses on polluters and enforcement of thresholds, to the principle of payments for ecosystem services (PES), which emphasizes provider-based economic approaches. Given that there are conflicts of interest over natural resources and ecosystem services (ESs), these conflicts could be resolved through rights and/or cost assignments via third-party intervention, i.e., by the "state," or through private compensation beyond initial regulation and state-initiated assignments of cost. Our analysis includes an in-depth literature review and a description of existing policies on ESs. We also examine the so-called Coase theorem based on a "neutral" situation where no rights or costs are distributed in advance. This theorem provides room for the PPP approaches and the provider-gets approaches. Both of these approaches should ensure, given certain assumptions, an economically efficient allocation of resources; however, they still ignore two indispensable issues, namely, the ecologically sustainable scale and inherent qualities of ecosystems and the distributional effects. With regard to the relationship between these two sets of approaches and their respective relationship to the legal framework, PES programs can evolve instead of PPP where no regulations are in place, existing regulations are deemed to be insufficiently formulated, or regulations are not enforced at all. We also further address some critical issues that can arise when PES programs evolve instead of PPP in practice, such as the general necessity of PES to coexist with basic rights and legal obligations, inappropriate lexicographic claims from providers of ESs, alongside claims for potential damages and the relationship of PES with the intrinsic motivation of service providers. Critically, insufficient attention has been paid to the fact that by replacing the earlier PPP doctrine with the "provider-gets" principle, rights are redistributed from the public to the service provider with important distributional implications for society. Therefore, the replacement of PPP with PES includes obstacles as well as opportunities, in particular for the relationship between rich and poor, and developing and developed countries. © 2013 by the author(s).

Ahmad S.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Ahmad S.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Choi M.J.,Seoul National University | Ko J.,Seoul National University
Habitat International | Year: 2013

This study estimates quantitative and qualitative demand for housing using household survey data in Delhi. Both housing demand and demand for housing attributes are further stratified by settlement type-slum and non-slum, and by tenure - owner and renter. The estimation results indicate that housing demand is inelastic with respect to price and income, whereas the magnitude of price elasticity is overall smaller than that of income elasticity in absolute term. In slum households, however, price elasticity is larger than income elasticity. The estimates of housing attributes also show that floor area, availability of a separate kitchen, permanent material of roof, independent latrine, drainage, and flat type of dwelling structure, among others, are important determinants of rent. In slum households, however, only quantity variables matter while quality variables have little effect on rent. This study concludes with policy prescriptions including sufficient urban land supply, which is required to cope with income growth of non-slum households on one hand and to provide low cost dwelling for slum household on the other hand. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Gu H.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Jiao Y.,Yunnan Normal University | Liang L.,University of Tokyo
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2012

The rapid disappearance of traditional agricultural landscapes is a worldwide concern. How to balance the needs between conservation and development has become a major policy issue. Based on a case study of the Hani Rice Terraces - a mosaic agricultural landscape composed of forests, villages, rice terraces and water system in Yunnan, China, this article examines the issues pertaining to tourism development and its impact on the relationship between the Hani Rice Terraces and their custodian communities. It also discusses measures to strengthen the resilience of rural communities to adapt to changing socio-economic conditions. Drawing on a comparison between the Hani Rice Terraces and the Ifugao rice terraces, this article proposes an endogenous development strategy aiming at harnessing tourism for poverty reduction and enhancing community custodianship. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Suwa A.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Jupesta J.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Jupesta J.,National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Sustainability Science | Year: 2012

Due to local scarcity of fossil fuel reserves, deployment of renewable energy has been on the Japanese government energy policy agenda for decades. While a significant amount of government budget was being allocated to renewables Research and Development, in contrast very little attention was paid to public support for renewable energy deployment. Against this background, in 2003, the Japanese government enacted legislation based on the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) scheme, which requires electricity retailers to supply a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources to grid consumers. The RPS legislation had been expected to ensure market efficiency, as well as bringing a steady increase in renewable capacity. Later, in 2009, the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme was introduced to let electricity utilities purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources with regulated prices. This paper aims to use the choice of renewable policy as a case-study to understand barriers for policy transfer and innovation, mainly through comparative studies between RPS and FIT in Japan. The result of this study shows that, in Japan, most policy-makers face the 'lock-in' of existing technology, which frustrates the deployment of renewable energy. For this reason, there is reluctance to allow experimentation that could promote a shift to other energy sources. In order to achieve the rapid change towards green industry, innovation policy needs to be implemented through effective and efficient methods, such as a carbon tax for fossil fuels; enlargement of renewable energy deployment to sources such as wind, geothermal and solar; and conducting further studies toward public preference and willingness to pay for the new clean energy sources. © 2012 Springer.

Kurniawan T.A.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Kurniawan T.A.,National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies | Puppim De Oliveira J.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Premakumara D.G.J.,Institute for Global Environmental Studies IGES | Nagaishi M.,Kitakyushu International Techno Cooperative Association KITA
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

In recent years, Surabaya has confronted municipal solid waste (MSW) with a partnership with Kitakyushu city for the use of the Takakura Home Composting (THC) method. A large number of Takakura bins have been distributed to households and cadres have been involved in educating local households about organic waste reduction through the method. In the past decade (2005-2013), the city has reduced organic waste through many diverse composting methods such as THC and about 3421 Mt of CO2 equivalent emissions could be reduced annually. By adapting the THC method, Surabaya has made positive changes to its MSW management practices. This kind of city-to-city technological cooperation has facilitated larger processes in other cities in Indonesia and elsewhere. This article discusses the lessons learned pertaining to the adaptation of the THC method in Surabaya to understand how city-to-city cooperation can work to boost climate co-benefits in urban areas, particularly in the waste sector. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Suneetha M.S.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
Sustainability Science | Year: 2010

Biodiversity is acknowledged as one of the most important resources that helps to sustain life's processes. Additionally, it is also one of the most important sources of livelihood for different kinds of stakeholders at various levels of resource markets-local, domestic, or international. With globalization and increasing sophistication in the methods of commercial trade in biological resources, various issues arise related to the sustenance of resources, of ecological balances, and equity in transactions. All of these are concerns to be addressed to achieve a state of 'sustainability.' This paper prescribes to the definition of 'sustainability' as the capacity to maintain a certain process or state for "improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems" (IUCN/UNEP/WWF, in Caring for the Earth: a strategy for sustainable living. Gland, Switzerland, 1991). This goes beyond ensuring inter- and intragenerational equity in access to resources and includes several other parameters, including equity among stakeholders to returns from biological resources, related knowledge, trade-offs, and ethical business practices related to these resources. Through the prism of an examination of a simplistic supply route(s) and value addition chain of biodiversity resources for commercial use, this paper reviews and highlights issues related to 'sustainability' at each stage. Evidence points to shortcomings in the sustainable use of biological resources at each stage of value addition, calling for focused and specific measures to address them. © 2009 Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, United Nations University, and Springer.

Moreno-Penaranda R.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

This paper studies the coevolutionary ecological-economic dynamics of agro-environmental change. The case study is Santa Rosa (Brazil) and the modernization of subsistence agriculture followed by the more recent emergence of organic farming. We use coevolution as an integrative framework for explaining how and why economic production changed over time in Santa Rosa in interdependence with the ecosystem resulting in a mosaic of diverse farm practices. A coevolutionary framework expands the explanatory breadth of prevailing accounts of agro-environmental change that rely on a notion of shifts from one singular, homogeneous production economy to the next. It unveils the complex processes driving agro-environmental change, instead of focusing on the structures resulting from it. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Jiang P.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
Energy for Sustainable Development | Year: 2011

The energy consumption in the building sector in China shares 25% of total energy consumption in the whole nation. The energy use in urban buildings in Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai share approximately 90% of whole energy consumption in buildings. Amongst these urban buildings, the energy use in public buildings is higher than other building sectors. So, the public building sector thus is an area of priority with regard to energy conservation and carbon reduction. China's Ministry of Construction has issued six energy-efficiency design standards to the building sector since 1995. The latest one is the design standards for energy efficiency in public buildings which aim to achieve 50% of the reduction of energy consumption in new and refurbished public buildings. Beijing and Shanghai governments have also issued their local energy saving standards for the public buildings with 65% and 50% of energy-saving goals. The main problems and weaknesses existing in the national and local standards in Beijing and Shanghai are assessed, and the reasons for producing the barriers to the implementation of national and two local standards are explored in this paper, they include: a) no explicit definitions of the base load energy consumption and the space conditioning energy uses are given, and only the energy savings from the base load energy consumption is considered in current standards; b) the benchmark of energy consumption selected is unreasonable and energy cuts from non technical measures are ignored; and c) the lack of effective supervision. Relevant solutions and suggestions to tackle these problems and weaknesses for the long-term energy conservation development in public buildings are discussed in this paper. © 2011 International Energy Initiative.

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