Sarraf, Maria

Disaster Risk and Climate Change Unit, South Asia, World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
environmental economics; valuation; Bangladesh; India; climate change; environment; Lebanon; Iran
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Disaster Risk and Climate Change Unit, South Asia, World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Maria Sarraf is Senior Environmental Economist in South Asia Region. Born in Lebanon she went on to study environmental economics at University College London, where she met many of her Bank colleagues. Joining the Bank in 1997, one of her first line of work in the MNA region was to estimate the cost of environmental degradation. Putting a monetary value to environmental degradation has helped push the environmental agenda in many countries, she says. In the South Asia region, she has worked extensively on climate change issues, especially in Bangladesh where she has set up the largest multi donor trust fund for climate change for a single country.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    The Cost of Coastal Zone Degradation in West Africa: Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal and Togo
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-03-13) Croitoru, Lelia ; Miranda, Juan José ; Sarraf, Maria
    West Africa’s coastal areas host about one third of the region’s population and generate 56 percent of its GDP. They are home for valuable wetlands, fisheries, oil and gas reserves, and high tourism potential. However, these areas are affected by severe pressures: rapid urbanization along the coast has increased the demands on land, water, and other natural resources; man-made infrastructure and sand extraction have contributed to significant coastal retreat; moreover, climate change and disaster risks are exacerbating these threats. As a result, coastal areas are undergoing alarming environmental degradation leading to deaths (due to floods, air and water pollution), losses of assets (houses, infrastructure) and damages to critical ecosystems (mangroves, marine habitat). This study estimates in monetary terms the Cost of Environmental Degradation (COED) in the coastal areas of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo. Specifically,it values the impacts of degradation that occur during one year, as a result of three major factors: flooding, erosion, and pollution (from water, air and waste). The final results are expressed in 2017 prices. They are reflected in absolute (USD) and in relative terms, as percentage of the countries’ GDP. Overall, the COED of the four countries is estimated at aboutUSD 3.8 billion, or 5.3 percent of the countries’ GDP in 2017. Flooding and erosion are the main forms of degradation, accounting for more than 60 percent of the total cost. Moreover, coastal degradation causes over 13,000 deaths a year, primarily due to air and water pollution, and to floods.
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    Beating the Resource Curse : The Case of Botswana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-10) Sarraf, Maria ; Jiwanji, Moortaza
    The endowment of natural resources has often been associated with disappointing economic development. This phenomenon is referred to in the literature as the "resource curse," which hypothesizes that economies experiencing resource booms, either through price increases or new discoveries, will experience unsustainable growth rates. There are various mechanisms through which a resource-boom can negatively impact on an economy. For instance, it can lead to excessive government expenditure during the boom period and drastic cuts when the boom ends; detrimental impacts on non-boom tradable sectors; inefficient investment beyond the absorptive capacity of the country; and rent seeking behavior. By exploring the case of the mineral boom in Botswana, this paper will demonstrate that the resource curse is not necessarily the fate of resource abundant countries. The adoption of sound economic policies and the good management of windfall gains have allowed Botswana to continuously manage growth and to become one of the great success stories of developing countries.
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    Country Assistance Strategies and the Environment
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-07) Shyamsundar, Priya ; Hamilton, Kirk ; Segnestam, Lisa ; Sarraf, Maria ; Frankhauser, S.
    This report is the outcome of a Country Assistance Strategy and Environment program that was started and aimed to identify practical constraints to incorporating environmental concerns into CASs and to develop a logical framework for doing so. The analysis is based on two key efforts: a review of CASs undertaken in fiscal year 1999, and five participatory case studies of on-going CASs. The report presents a set of practical actions to improve the environmental quality of CASs based on the learning that emerged from the case studies and the environmental review: 1) integrating environmental considerations into country activities; 2) linking environmental efforts to poverty reduction; 3) strengthening the information base; and 4) improving the CAS process. After the introduction, Chapter 2 presents a review of fiscal year 1999 CASs and ranks them according to their treatment of environmental issues. Regional differences are discussed, best practices examined, and recommendations made for future CASs. The methodology used for the review is described in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 discusses the CAS process in five countries - Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Zambia. The chapter then examines practical challenges to mainstreaming environmental issues. The last chapter identifies lessons learned and presents recommendations.
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    Air Pollution in Tehran: Health Costs, Sources, and Policies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) Heger, Martin ; Sarraf, Maria ; Heger, Martin Philipp
    Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), is located in the north of the country with a population of about 8.5 million. The population can reach over 12.5 million during the day, with people from nearby cities commuting daily to Tehran for work. There are more than 17 million vehicular trips per day in Tehran, and many of the vehicles have outdated technology. Thus, the air in Tehran is amongst the most polluted in the world. Topography and climate add to the pollution problem. Tehran is at a high altitude and is surrounded by the Alborz Mountain Range, which traps polluted air. Temperature inversion, a phenomenon particularly occurring during the winter months, prevents the pollutants from being diluted. Several recent trends indicate that reducing air pollution will not be straight forward: rapid population growth (partially due to migration from other cities), industrial development, urbanization, and increasing fuel consumptionare pressure points for clean air in Tehran. To design an effective approach to air pollution management, it is important to diagnose the problem, determine its sources, and identify affordable and sustainable solutions. This discussion paper provides an overview of the seriousness of air pollution in the city of Tehran; quantifies its impact in terms of health and economic costs; identifies the sources of pollution; and, finally, provides a framework to addressthe problem.
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    The Cost of Environmental Degradation : Case Studies from the Middle East and North Africa
    (World Bank, 2010-08-01) Croitoru, Lelia ; Sarraf, Maria ; Croitoru, Lelia ; Sarraf, Maria ; Ghariani, Fadhel ; Matoussi, Mohamed Salah ; Daly-Hassen, Hamed ; Jabarin, Amer ; Jorio, Abdeljaouad ; El Fadel, Mutasem ; El-Jisr, Karim ; Ikäheimo, Erkki ; Gundlach, Erich ; Al-Duaij, Samia ; Cervigni, Raffaello
    Environmental degradation is costly, to individuals, to societies, and to the environment. This book, edited by Lelia Croitoru and Maria Sarraf, makes these costs clear by examining a number of studies carried out over the past few years by the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa region. Even more important than estimating the monetary cost of environmental degradation (COED), however, are the clear guidance and policy implications derived from these findings. This volume presents a new approach to estimating the impacts of environmental degradation. In the past, when government officials asked researchers the simple question how large are the impacts of environmental degradation? The response was often an emphatic 'large!' a rather imprecise number. The strength of this work is that it actually quantifies in economic terms how large is 'large' and thereby gains the attention of decision makers and offers specific insights for improved policy making. Finally, this book demonstrates the benefits of doing a coordinated, regional COED analysis that builds on the country-level studies. This two-tiered approach produces important synergies, in terms of both the methodologies used and the lessons learned.