Environmental Economic Analysis and Strategic Environmental Assessment of Mauritania
Sectors of water, of agriculture and of livestock farming and fishing are priority domains in the Mauritanian Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP, 2006-2010). To reach this objective, the country made significant efforts in order to provide all its citizens with drinkable water and to struggle against resources scarcity, hydric pollution and inefficiencies in the water infrastructures.
In the domain of agriculture, the main environmental issues appear to generated by the irrigation systems and the pressure they apply on natural resources, as well as the biological and chemical degradation of soils. Regarding livestock farming, the majors environmental concerns are due to overgrazing, livestock settlements, feed availability and pasture desertification.
Moreover, the cohabitation of livestock farming with agriculture is also a source of conflict. With respect to fishing, thanks to the exceptional Mauritanian littoral ecosystem, it is one of the major economic activity in the country. The consequence is a reduction of the halieutic resources, a phenomenon worsened by the overexploitation conducted by countries who bought fishing rights to Mauritania and practice intensive and industrial fishing in the region.
With a view to assessing thorough the situation and determining solutions and potential improvements in these domains, Mauritania and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, Nairobi) mandated sba
to conduct two parallel and complementary studies in the framework of the Poverty-Environment Junction (APE) project in Mauritania:
- Economic analysis ( costs and benefits) of the environmental management in Mauritania, applied to Hydric, Pastoral and Halieutic resources (EnvEcon project)
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the sectors of Water and Rural Development in Mauritania (SEA project)
National capacity building
These studies will be realized thanks to a close collaboration between international experts (Switzerland and Mali) and the Mauritanian partners (national consultants and technical team). During the project implementation, especially through the coaching from the experts and the coordination from the project manager, national capacities regarding EnvEcon and SEA methodologies will be strengthened.
The objective is to go into details with the economic analysis of the environmental damages in Mauritania (analysis realized in 2008), focusing on damages and remediation measures analysis in the domain of water and for the economic sectors of livestock farming and fishing.
The economic analysis purpose is to facilitate the elaboration of a strategy, which should not only highlight quality objectives to reach in the future, but also propose a short-term and mid-term plan of actions and identify the best way to implement them. This also means this project is not only about attenuation investments or short-lived preventive measures.
The monetary valuation cannot be limited to applying a change rate between a damage physical quantity and its monetary value. Valuate an environmental damage means we identify the impact on human welfare of a modification of the environment quality. Thus, a same damage can be attributed to different economic values depending on the demographic, social and economic contexts.
With respect to the assessment of resources such as hydric, halieutic or pastoral, the analysis will first separate the “stock” dimension of the resource, its durability and the impacts of the actual behaviors. That means it is not only about indicating the amount of benefits (or losses) related to the exploitation of a resource, but also its temporality.
Besides, the analysis must not only valuate the impact of the exploitation of these resources on environment, but also the impact of the other economic activities on the durability and availability of these resources. This is about using the economic analysis in order to prioritize between the possible use (but also non-use) of these resources. The notion of total economic value account for a tool of synthesis for the analysis.
To conduct jointly the EnvEcon and SEA projects in a unique structure will insure the connection between the two analysis. This approach will strengthen each project and will lead to a better coherence in their conclusions and recommendations. However, the synergies between these two methods require the use of common analysis categories as well as a concerted leadership.
At the communication strategy and awareness raising level, gathering the EnvEcon and SEA approach will enable us to formulate common conclusions. This will reinforce the consensus regarding the recommendations and improve their acceptability.