Environment Department Papers

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These discussion papers are produced primarily by the Environment Department, on occasion jointly with other departments. Papers in this series are not formal publications of the World Bank. They are circulated to encourage thought and discussion. The use and citation of this paper should take this into account. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank.

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    Reducing Climate-Sensitive Disease Risks
    (Washington, DC, 2014-04) World Bank
    Disease risks to humans, animals, and plants are determined by interconnected environmental variables that affect incidence, transmission, and outbreak. Climate change affects many of the environmental variables that lead to disease. Regardless of the species involved, the impacts can ultimately affect the health, livelihood, and economic security of humans. The objective of this World Bank economic and sector work is to build on scientific and operational knowledge of early action tools to help practitioners reduce the risks of key climate-sensitive infectious diseases by strengthening risk management systems for disease outbreaks. The report includes an assessment of known interventions such as the establishment of surveillance systems, the development of region and nation-specific disease outlooks, the creation of climate-sensitive disease risk maps, and the construction and implementation of early warning advisory systems. This research highlights the need for better understanding of the evolving interactions between the environment and emerging and reemerging disease pathogens. It also points to the inseparable interactions between animal health and human health, which climate change appears to be reinforcing and even diversifying. The assessment looks at investments that can lead to the development of these tools, working toward reducing global climate-sensitive disease risk. Because of the breadth of species affected by climate-sensitive disease, it has been helpful to select a model through which the specific impact of climate change and disease can be traced. In this instance, livestock has been chosen, given its significant global presence, economic importance, and susceptibility to disease outbreak. The livestock sector plays a vital role in the economies of many developing countries. Globally it accounts for 40 percent of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).
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    What is the Cost of a Bowl of Rice? : The Impact of Sri Lanka's Current Trade and Price Policies on the Incentive Framework for Agriculture
    (Washington, DC, 2013-10-01) World Bank
    Since 2004, Sri Lanka has pursued inward looking policies that have encouraged import substitution, especially with respect to agricultural commodities. This report provides empirical evidence to inform the policy dialogue over the impact of current trade and price policies on the incentive framework for agriculture in Sri Lanka. This analysis provides a quantitative assessments of: (1) the level of support to farmers producing import-competing products; (2) the degree to which final consumers are indirectly taxed by those policies; (3) the extent to which agricultural exports are taxed; (4) the contribution of trade policy to government revenue through tariffs on imports and taxes on exports; (5) an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the current fertilizer subsidy scheme; and (6) a better understanding of the web of income transfers between producers, consumers, and government accounts. The report is structured as follows: section one gives introduction. Section two gives overview of the current (2009-11) import and export policy framework and a brief analysis of government revenues and expenditures for agriculture. Section three reviews the data sources and methods used in calculating the degree of protection, and summary statistics on the degree of protection for 10 agricultural commodities. Section four looks closely at the cost-effectiveness of fertilizer subsidies, which represent a large share of the government agriculture budget. Section five focuses on how agricultural trade policies influence income distribution, particularly among different groups of rice producers. The last section recapitulates the main findings and highlights their implications, with an emphasis on the often implicit and unintended income transfers among producers, consumers, and the government.
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    The Dynamics of Vertical Coordination in Agrifood Chains in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Implications for Policy and World Bank Operations
    (Washington, DC, 2011) World Bank
    A major problem in the transition countries of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) during the transition was the breakdown of the relationships of farms with input suppliers and output markets. The simultaneous privatization and restructuring of the farms and of the up- and downstream companies in the agrifood chain has caused major disruptions. The result is that many farms and rural households face serious constraints in accessing essential inputs (feed, fertilizer, seeds, capital, etc.) and in selling their products. The problems are worsened by the lack of public institutions necessary to support market-based transactions, such as for enforcing property rights and contractual agreements. The objective of the study is to analyze Vertical Coordination (VC) in agrifood supply chains in ECA and to identify options for improved policies, institutions, and investments which Governments could make, and which the World Bank could support, in order to improve links in the agricultural marketing and processing chain and increase access of farmers to input and output markets. This is especially important in those countries where contractual arrangements are slow to develop. It is also important if farmers are to be lifted out of subsistence farming and into a modern agrifood economy.
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    Household Cookstoves, Environment, Health, and Climate Change: A New Look at an Old Problem
    (Washington, DC, 2011) World Bank
    Open fires and primitive stoves have been used for cooking since the beginning of human history. They have come in various sizes and styles, having been adapted to myriad cultures and food preparation methods. As society has progressed, more sophisticated stove models have been developed. Today's modern kitchens reflect the many types of standardized and specialized cooking devices available, from coffee and tea pots to toasters and gas cook tops. But in many developing countries worldwide, the poor still burn biomass energy to meet their household cooking needs. These open fires are fairly inefficient at converting energy into heat for cooking; the amount of biomass fuel needed each year for basic cooking can reach up to two tons per family. In addition, collecting this fuel sometimes can take an hour a day on average. Furthermore, these open fires and primitive cook stoves emit a significant amount of smoke, which fills the home; this indoor cooking smoke has been associated with a number of diseases, the most serious of which are chronic and acute respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This report takes a fresh look at what new approaches might be used to tackle this well known yet complex multi-sector issue. Although there are other ways to reduce household air pollution, including inter fuel substitution and household ventilation, this study focuses mainly on the recently developed biomass cook stoves for developing countries and their financing models and sources. Known by many as 'advanced biomass cook stoves,' these new cook stoves generally have better energy-combustion properties and reduce fuel consumption by about half. Such innovations warrant the development of a more serious program to deal with both the emissions and health issues resulting from cooking with open fires or traditional biomass cook stoves.
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    Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Climate Change : The Economic Problem
    (Washington, DC, 2010-11) World Bank
    Climate change is both a cause and an effect of biodiversity change. Along with anthropogenic dispersion, climate change is the main driver of change in the geographical distribution of both beneficial and harmful species, crops, livestock, harvested wild species, pests, predators and pathogens. And the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to climate change depends on the diversity of species they currently support. This paper considers the connection between climate, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The impact of climate change on human wellbeing is measured by the change in ecosystem services caused by climate related change in biodiversity. Similarly, the role of species richness and abundance in climate change mitigation or adaptation is measured by the change in the climate-related services of biodiversity. The categories of ecosystem services are those applied in the millennium ecosystem assessment. The paper first considers how climate and biodiversity have been linked in recent attempts to link the two things. From the side of the natural sciences, this covers the consequences of climate change for various dimensions of biodiversity. From the side of the social sciences, it covers the value of biodiversity in the carbon cycle. It then uses insights from the economic treatment of the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem services to re-evaluate the connection between biodiversity and climate change, and to draw conclusions for climate policy.