Table of Contents

  • The idea to develop this book for public policy-makers in small states and students of public policy emanated from the teaching of the module on environment and natural resource analysis as part of the public policy and administration masters at the University of Mauritius. In fact, Dr John L. Roberts gave the idea for this book and helped as an advisor in various capacities. This book, part of a wider project that introduced the public policy course at the University of Mauritius, benefitted fromthe lectures delivered by DrYetiNisha Madhoo, Dr John L. Roberts and Professor ShyamNath.Theministries of finance, economic development, environment and quality of life, international trade, foreign affairs and regional co-operation, education and health, public utilities and social services contributed by making their requirements for this course very specific. Moreover, academics from various universities around the world provided useful inputs. These included Professor James Robinson, Harvard University; Professor Alistair Munro, University of East Anglia; Professor Mukul Asher, National University of Singapore; Professor Larry Schroeder, Syracuse University; Professor Dan Atwood, Director of the School of International Social Affairs, University of Minnesota; Professor RoyW. Bahl, Georgia State University, Atlanta; and Professor Glenn Withers, Australian National University; University of Western Australia in Perth, Washington State University in Seattle, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

  • The significance of environmental and natural resource analysis for capacity building in public policy design and programme planning and evaluation is tremendous.The contribution of the idea of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ by Hardin (1968) is a seminal one, which takes off fromthe property rights literature and proceeds to discuss the consequences of the lack of property rights and excessive use of common resources. The conventional wisdom predicts that environmental resources having the characteristics of common pool resources would be degraded if regulation or other policy instruments are not in force. The 2009 Nobel Prize winner E. Ostrom (1990) challenges this contention about the need for regulation or privatisation and discusses conditions underwhichthe commons can be successfullymanaged by resource user groups such that the tragedy is avoided. Nevertheless, the role of the public sector institutions in enforcing rules, particularly access rules for common pool resources, is highlighted. The crux of the need is to develop a proactive public policy and a proactive environmental public policy.While recognising the policy instance in resourcemanagement, giving a shape to proactive policies is bristledwith insurmountable challenges.

  • Somuch of man’s history has been about the achievement of technical progress in which marginal productivity continues to increase for the same levels of factors of production, that for centuries man has assumed this approach to development is incontestable. If he does not already live in the best of all possible worlds, then only time is arresting his inevitable progress to that end. People in small states and SIDS have for centuries enjoyed outstanding natural assets which are now increasingly threatened by an approach to economic development that values such natural wealth at zero. Such people, and the tourists who flock to their shores seeking a taste of paradise, seem too often bent on forms of development that are destroying these gifts of nature on which their survival depends. This book is offered as an antidote to this traditional western concept of progress and the narrow perspective of the liberalising march of history.