Notes from the Field: Economic analysis in the Western Pacific
February was a month of non-stop travel for me. Having just started working with CSF I got shipped off on a whirlwind tour of Micronesia and Bali. Not a bad start I suppose!
CSF recently began tailoring their training model for coastal and marine environments. Last year saw the start of this venture, a two-week Economic Tools for Conservation training course on the island of Pohnpei, part of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The course was a resounding success and all participants took their new economic skills back to their home islands, organizations and communities. During the course, participants identified over a dozen applied economics programs they would like to conduct, and showed enthusiasm for CSF to expand this training within Micronesia. As a follow-up to the course, CSF is providing technical assistance to two graduates of this program in Pohnpei who are conducting economic analyses back home.
In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, CSF is working alongside the Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority (MIMRA) to evaluate the economic value of the marine areas in and around the Majuro atoll in terms of subsistence and commercial fishing as well as tourism opportunities. In Yap, CSF has been working with the Chamber of Commerce to host a scenarios workshop. This capacity-building workshop will aid stakeholders in evaluating plausible scenarios of the country’s future economic development, as well as provide training to enable stakeholders to analyze the relative costs and benefits of possible development options. Both projects are underway and reports will be out later this year.
In addition, I had the opportunity to personally experience some of the challenges facing both the people and the environment of Micronesia and Indonesia. Meetings in Palau, Bali and Jakarta helped me to understand the immediate threats in the regions, and cemented my view that sound economic rationale is often lacking in current decision-making within the marine realm. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the large role CSF can play in promoting economic literacy. Hands-on experiences like this will continue to help shape CSF’s program as we move forward into the crucial area of marine and coastal conservation.