In EEPSEA’s 23 years of existence, the Program has awarded 435 research grants carried out by 776 researchers. It has also provided training grants to 2,809 researchers, 1,314 natural resource managers and policy makers, 80 justices, 79 journalists, and 23 NGO representatives. This compilation of stories brings these numbers to life.
The narratives reflect how our research and training grants have supported the career and work of our alumni. We feature their account of how they influenced environmental policies and decision making using their research findings. Others create this influence by serving as policy advisors or consultants to assist in their respective government’s efforts to incorporate environmental values in economic analysis of policies and programs. With 85% of our training grants and almost all of our research support going to academics, many of the stories here talk about EEPSEA’s influence in promoting career advancement and supporting environmental economics education in the region. On these academics lie our hope of continuing the work that we have started, capitalizing on the synergy that we have built through networking and cross-country research projects, and their long years of interaction with the international experts who mentored them in their research projects. Together, we are confident that our EEPSEA alumni from all over the region will help continue our work so that they too can nurture young minds who will continue the legacy of capacity building for environmental economics research in the future.
From the beginning, EEPSEA researchers are charged with selecting research with practical applications to priority environmental problems. The aim is to bring research results to the attention of policymakers and relevant stakeholders. Policy influence takes time though, and comes in various forms. And it also largely depends also on the sensibility of policymakers and the strength of the other interest groups who may be affected negatively by the proposed change. Whatever policy impacts our research might have attained, it has always been our commitment to provide decision makers relevant with evidence-based information for them to hopefully use in order to ensure our society a better environment. Thus, EEPSEA also provides our researchers funding support to communicate their findings to relevant users and to hold policy dialogues. We believe that researchers need to work closely with policymakers, natural resource managers and local community groups as this will contribute to generating greater synergy in the efforts to slow down on-going environmental degradation.
In a year’s time, EEPSEA as a Program will cease its operation. We are banking on the synergy that we have fostered with our alumni and on the relationships they have formed with the natural resource managers in their countries to fuel the continuation of capacity building efforts for environmental economics research in the region. The establishment of the Economy and Environment Partnership in Southeast Asia (EEPSEA Partnership) by EEPSEA alumni from various countries in the region is a good indication that EEPSEA’s legacy will live on. The Partnership is composed of: the Economy and Environment Institute of the Lower Mekong Sub-region (EEI-LMS), the Economy and Environment Group (EEG-Philippines) from the Philippines, the Economy and Environment Institute in Vietnam (EEI-Vietnam), the Economy and Environment Societies in Cambodia (EES-Cambodia), the Economy and Environment Association in Malaysia (EEA-Malaysia) and the Economy and Environment Institute in Indonesia (EEI-Indonesia).