In this study, Omar Noman sheds light on the confusion and chaos that have marked debates on the environment and economy in developing countries, showing ad-hoc, unsystematic changes are being recommended and implemented without a clear, global objective in mind.
Since 1980, over fifty developing economies have embarked on the formulation of national conservation strategies with a marked lack of success due not to a lack of political will, but to fundamental flaws in current global approaches to the environment. These in turn reflect the incoherent and confusing attitudes to the relationship between the environment and economic development adopted by the environmental movement, which result in the whole gamut of development policies being challenged without a clear alternative being presented.
Economic Development and Environmental Policy sets out a five point alternative framework to addressing the important issues that have emerged from the debate on environmental issues and the economy in the developing world. First, to abandon the environmental umbrella and vague concepts such as 'sustainable development' as an objective for policy. Second, to adopt the classification of environmental problems into either natural resource management on pollution issues. Third, to recognize the centrality of economic development imperatives. Fourth, to give priority to interventions which increase local economic efficiency or reduce human welfare loss. Fifth, priority natural resource management and pollution issues should be integrated into specific sectoral concerns rather than entrusted to marginal ministries.
Economic Development and Environmental Policy offers a useful, realistic alternative approach to dealing with the complexities of environmental problems, without ignoring the imperatives of economic development. The general theoretical arguments are buttressed by case studies of Jordan, Pakistan and Lesotho.
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