In continuation with the SimPachamama launch month at INESAD, this week has seen a number of articles published around the topics of gaming, deforestation and climate change:
By Ioulia Fenton
In conjunction with its partners, the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD) has designed statistical tools, using extensive real life data, to simulate what kinds of policies are likely to make a measurable impact on reducing deforestation while maximizing human wellbeing in Bolivia. As the “How to Live Well in Bolivia” infographic released by INESAD earlier this month illustrates, two policies working in tandem are predicted to have the best results. An internal US$450 tax on every hectare of cleared forest, structured in a way as to mainly affect large-scale commercial agriculture, could raise one billion dollars every four years and kick start deforestation reduction efforts. While laudable on its own, the policy would not be enough. A matching system of payments from rich countries to Bolivia for reducing deforestation that would raise an additional one billion dollars every two years is predicted to act as a catalyst. If the money is then spent on paying people to conserve their forests, on creating green jobs (such as within the eco-tourism sector), and financing anti-poverty initiatives, every year, together, the dual policy effort is forecast to engage 72 percent of the rural population, increase the income of the poor who participate by 29 percent, and achieve a 29 percent reduction in deforestation. (Play the SimPachamama simulation game to see if you can keep forests standing while making the community happy and wealthy).
This, of course, sounds fantastic. But it is worth bearing in mind that, like any simulation or prediction, the model that these results are based on is inevitably stylized. That is to say that it is simpler than the real world. One key issue that this scenario does not take into account is how much of the half billion dollars predicted to be raised every year by the tax and international transfer policies would be spent on actually administering conservation and poverty reduction strategies. Before money can be given by the government to its people, systems and processes—like identifying who deforests how much land and what they therefore need to pay—have to be put in place to collect and distribute taxes and all the people involved need to be paid. These and other similar expenditures are called transaction costs. READ MORE HERE.
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