The EEPSEA annual conference was held last 18-19 May, 2015 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. EEPSEA Director Dr. Herminia A. Francisco welcomed 79 participants from 19 countries (Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam). Of these, 4 were researchers presenting their final project reports, 14 were researchers with on-going EEPSEA projects, and 14 were there to present new proposals for possible EEPSEA support.
This year’s annual conference featured two plenary talks. Dr. Cielito Habito, of Ateneo de Manila University and former Socioeconomic Planning Minister during the Ramos presidency in the Philippines, talked about the environmental implications and imperatives of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community. Dr. Heidi Joanne Albers of University of Wyoming talked about modeling of results and observations of spatial extraction decisions and enforcement of access restrictions in protected areas.
Two panel discussions were also featured, both focusing on natural resource management. The first panel was composed of University of Alberta’s Dr. Wiktor Adamowicz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Dr. Dale Whittington, Dr. David James, Academia Sinica’s Dr. Daigee Shaw, Ms. Tuan Marina Bt Tuan Ibrahim of Peninsular Malaysia’s Forestry Department, and Ms. Nguyen Phan Thuy Linh of the Vietnam Pollution Control Department. Chaired by Simon Fraser University’s Dr. Nancy Olewiler, the discussion focused on the effectiveness of economic instruments for environmental and natural resource management.
The second panel discussion focused on ecosystem services and how they are valued. It featured three presentations, all based on EEPSEA-funded cross-country projects in Southeast Asia. Dr. Gem Castillo, President of the Resource and Environmental Economics Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (REAP), talked about the fiscal gap and financing of the region’s protected areas. University of Economics Ho Chi Minh’s Dr. Pham Khanh Nam talked about the valuation of mangrove ecosystems in the region. Dr. Mia Amalia, of Indonesia’s BAPPENAS, presented the results of a cross-country analysis of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) implementation in the region.
The EEPSEA annual conference is the focal point of the Program. Aside from the plenary presentations, it includes individual consultations between researchers and their advisors and concurrent working group sessions during which research reports and proposals are presented for further comment. It brings together Southeast Asian researchers with eminent Resource Persons in the field of environmental and resource economics. The conference is held yearly in May.