Economic incentives for conserving biodiversity: Lessons for Africa

TitleEconomic incentives for conserving biodiversity: Lessons for Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsMcNeely, JA
Date Published1993
KeywordsAfrica; biodiversity

Economics provides a useful perspective on issues of biodiversity, at three levels. At the international level, governments may need to consider the impact of global economic policies, such as commodities prices, on biodiversity; and because the conservation of biodiversity provides global economic benefits, economic incentives should be provided to governments at the international level (for example, through the Global Environment Facility, but also through terms of trade). At the national level, governments need to be able to assess the impact of their policies on the biological resources of the country, and consider the utility of using a combination of economic incentives (such as differential access to resources, compensation for animal damage, subsidies and grants) and economic disincentives (such as fines and withholding of benefits) to promote conservation objectives. Governments need to address, the problem of "perverse incentives" - economic instruments which promote the destruction of biodiversity). Many government subsidies and foreign assistance projects have had such effects. At the level of government agencies responsible for conserving biodiversity, incentives can often be used to enhance the performance of staff, improve relations with surrounding communities, and provide long-term financial support to the agency. Examples from throughout Africa are provided to show how economic incentives can enable governments and the private sector to support national conservation objectives more efficiently than can traditional regulatory approaches.

Research Notes

Paper presented at International Conference on Conservation of Biodiversity in Africa: Local Initiatives and Institutional Roles 30 August - 3 September 1992 National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya (18 pp.)



Short TitleEconomic Incentives for Conserving Biodiversity

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