Environmental Economics and Sustainable Agribusiness Unit (UEAAS/EfD)


At UEAAS/EfD we are a multidisciplinary team that uses environmental economics and the promotion of sustainable agribusiness management as a means to promote the achievement of sustainable development goals in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

We generate scientific evidence for the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies, we transfer knowledge and strengthen capacities to various actors interested in using the economic perspective to solve the most urgent environmental problems in the region. Similarly, we contribute to the insertion and staggering of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in sustainable agricultural, forestry, aquaculture, fishing and beekeeping value chains.

We focus on five strategic themes:

Design, implementation and evaluation of public policies

This dimension of our work includes the design, evaluation, and implementation of financial mechanisms, such as payment for environmental services (PES) programs, water funds, and other mechanisms that promote a sustainable flow of income for diverse investments in nature. Likewise, rigorous studies are carried out to evaluate the impact of public policies for the conservation of diverse ecosystems in environmental, social and economic indicators.

Socioeconomic dimension of climate change

We analyze and generate recommendations related to the adaptation of the impacts of climate change on the management of water resources, agricultural activities and the livelihoods of vulnerable populations, mainly.

Economic valuation of ecosystem services

We apply methodologies to economically value the provision of environmental services to society, as well as to estimate the costs and benefits associated with projects and public policies in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, including investments based on nature and the design of financial mechanisms.

Natural resource governance

It is about the local management of water, land and marine-coastal resources, including the improvement of access to water (SDG 6) and the sustainability of water service providers in rural, coastal and peri-urban areas. In addition, we contribute to strengthening the capacities of local actors, associativity, local governance and community participation in the management of common resources of various kinds.

Sustainable agribusiness

We work to strengthen the business ecosystem, particularly in rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, through the promotion of sustainable agribusiness and the development of agri-food value chains. Our work focuses on the implementation of inclusive capacity-building processes, the development of enterprises, the facilitation of commercial alliances between MSMEs and large companies, the creation of products with high socio-environmental value, and the management of innovation.

Environmental economics for growth and environmental conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean

The experience of more than 15 years in the design and implementation of different financial mechanisms has allowed us to contribute to the development of local, national and transnational initiatives that favor the conservation of the environment, improve the living conditions of the population and promote or facilitate the establishment of socially and environmentally responsible business models.

There are recent examples of our work in applied research, consulting and capacity building processes in the region, which demonstrate the positive impact of our actions. In Kingston, Jamaica, a Payments for Water Environmental Services program was designed in conjunction with various government entities and with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Currently, scientific research is also being carried out, together with the National Institute of Forest Science (NiFOS) of the Republic of Korea, to determine the key aspects that can favor the successful implementation of financial mechanisms for the conservation and restoration of the forestry sector in developing countries. National Institute of Forest Science National Institute of Forest Science (NiFOS) of the Republic of Korea, to determine the key aspects that can favor the successful implementation of financial mechanisms for the conservation and restoration of the forestry sector in developing countries.

In addition, with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), we support the design of a Trinational Water Fund in the Lempa River Basin, which would benefit comprehensive water management in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. This work highlights that collective action between countries is essential to mobilize resources for the conservation of transboundary watersheds.

In line with the assessment of ecosystem services and support for climate change adaptation and mitigation processes, we work with National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), National System of Conservation Areas (ACRXS) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in the diagnosis and identification of opportunities for the implementation of Blue-Green Infrastructures (IAV) in the coastal areas of Costa Rica. As a result of the characterization of HTI options, the modeling of ecosystem services that they provide to society (such as reduction of coastal vulnerability, erosion, and flooding), the cost-effectiveness analysis, and the identification of priority areas for implementation, the government of Costa Rica will have a practical guide for the implementation of these natural infrastructures and the mitigation of the effects of climate change.

Global Scope

At the international level we are part of the initiative Environment for Development (EfD), which is a global network of 13 environmental economics research centers, coordinated from the University of Gothenburg. Through EfD Central America we work together with academics from universities in the United States, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia, discovering information and advising ministries and local governments on economic and environmental decision-making.

Similarly, we have strategic allies, including SIDA, IDRC, IDB, CABEI, UNDP and the United States Embassy, among others.

Multidisciplinary team

At UEAAS/EfD we have a multidisciplinary team that contributes to the management of natural resources from environmental economics and agribusiness management. In EfD's website you can meet our team..

Contact person

For more information, contact:

Róger Madrigal, unit coordinator (rmadriga@catie.ac.cr)

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