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With a population of more than 1.5 billion and with a population growth rate of nearly 2 percent per year, South Asia will soon become the most densely populated region in the world. The economy of South Asia as a region had been growing at a rate of 9 percent per annum, according to the World Bank, but has slowed down to around 6 percent in recent years due to the global recession. The economic performance of all the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries is not, however, the same but they all, with the exception of Afghanistan and Nepal, have accomplished more than many other countries in the world (World Bank 2009). For example, in 2009, the rate of growth for export was registered around 21 percent and that of imports about 36 percent, indicating that the region has been strongly integrating with the world. Simultaneously however, the integration of South Asian economies among themselves is minimal; internally South Asia is the least integrated region of the world. Additionally, the growth rate of energy consumption is currently around 5 percent, while growth rate of energy demand is about 6 percent meaning that there is a persistent shortage of energy in the region.
Flood mitigation is clearly a very important issue for Bangladesh. It is highly related to other high priority policy goals such as food security. As a result, protection against flooding has often been combined with efforts to intensify agricultural production. Most of the flood control projects in Bangladesh are so-called ‘flood control, drainage, and irrigation’ projects. These projects have recovered thousands of hectares of land from the floodplain through the construction of dykes or embankments. However, this measure has come under criticism because: (1) it provides benefits in terms of increased agricultural productivity and is therefore biased towards landowners; (2) it has resulted in a long run decline in soil fertility due to the cessation of sediment deposition on land during flood; (3) it prohibits the migration and spawning of fish, and thereby reduces overall fish stocks and the livelihood of fishers; (4) flood control embankments also hinder water transportation because they prevent free water flows between rivers within and outside embankments. Consequently, flood control projects often reduce the incomes of water transportation workers and force some to leave this sector.
Thus the construction of flood protection embankments has a complex pattern of positive and negative impacts for different sections and occupational groups within the affected population. Some of these impacts are through environmental channels. As mentioned above, fish stocks are negatively affected by the presence of embankments, which affects the livelihoods of those engaged in capture fisheries. This is a big problem because fisher communities in Bangladesh are generally one of the poorest occupation groups. Similarly, negatively affected people engaged in water transportation also tend to be from the poorest strata in the community.
This book is about understanding the value of environmental services in South Asia. It provides an overview of different environmental problems in South Asia and examines how economic valuation techniques can be used to assess these problems. It brings together multiple case studies on valuation undertaken by economists and environmental scientists from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka under the aegis of the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). The book addresses the challenges of valuing environmental changes that are unique to developing countries. Each chapter starts with a description of an environmental problem and the valuation strategy used, followed by a discussion of estimation methods and results. It is designed to serve as a reference book for students, teachers, researchers, non-government organizations and practitioners of environmental valuation. Those interested in development and environmental economics, and natural resource management policies, will also find it useful.
This book is about the valuation of environmental services in South Asia. It brings together, for the first time, multiple case studies on valuation undertaken by economists and environmental scientists from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka under the aegis of the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). The book provides an over-view of different environmental problems in South Asia and examines how economic valuation techniques can be used to assess these problems. It seeks to offer robust evidence of the monetary benefits of resource conservation and the costs of a decline in environmental quality as South Asian economies grow rapidly.
As elsewhere, markets for many environmental goods are absent in South Asia and the prices of these resources are unknown. Therefore, the chapters in this book discuss various methods for generating information on the prices of environmental goods and services. Another feature of the book is its exposition of the use of environmental and economic data and analytical techniques under circumstances when data are difficult to obtain. Thus, the book seeks to address some of the challenges of valuing environmental changes that are unique to developing countries. The book is also designed to serve as a work book for students and practitioners of environmental valuation. Each chapter offers a description of an environmental problem and the valuation strategy used. This is followed by a discussion of methods of estimation and results.