On October 29th and 30th 2018, the Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN) Symposium took place at the University of Ottawa. This year, our annual EEPRN Research Symposium was held in two instalments: while the March 2018 EEPRN Symposium set out to develop a research agenda focused on clean innovation, carbon pricing, climate finance, and clean growth, this October Symposium targeted questions of natural capital and circular economy, bringing together close to 100 of the top environment-economy scholars from across Canada and the world, and policy experts from government and business. The two EEPRN Symposia in 2018 were less focused on presenting the results of work funded by the network and more on identifying current policy and research needs on which to build a research program for the coming years. 

The themes around which this October Symposium was built were identified through a scoping exercise conducted during the summer of 2018 by Vic Adamowicz of the University of Alberta and Nancy Olewiler of SFU, supported by student researcher Alicia Entem, in collaboration with SPI research staff.  The main themes covered at the Symposium included: 

  1. Protected Areas and Species At Risk
  2. Ecosystem Risk & Securitization
  3. Resource Efficiency and Transitioning to a more Circular Economy
  4. Natural Infrastructure Research & Policy

The Symposium opened with initial remarks and welcome from Warren Goodlet, Acting Director General, Economic Analysis Directorate at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Stewart Elgie, Executive Chair, Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI). The focus on the morning of the first day was on protected areas and species at risk, with keynotes from Oregon State University's Christian Langpap and Yale University's Eli Fenichel, followed by panel discussions of conservation of public and private lands respectively. Paul Ekins, of University College London, gave a lunch keynote outlining the work of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform's Natural Capital Working Group. Following lunch, the focus shifted to a discussion on ecosystem risk and securitization, with a keynote from Leeds University's Colin Mackie.  

Day two opened with a keynote from ECCC Assistant Deputy Minister, Hilary Geller, who focused her remarks on Environment and Climate Change Canada's circular economy priorities. A group of private sector representatives made up the next panel looking at challenges and opportunities being encountered by businesses in the transition to a circular economy. Closing out the Symposium, were panels looking at resource efficiency, transitioning to a circular economy and advancing research on natural infrastructure. The agenda for the Symposium can be found here and copies of the keynote presentations delivered in the various sessions throughout the Symposium are available here:

Keynote by Christian Langpap: Economics of the US Endangered Species Act - Lessons Learned and Research Needs

Keynote by Eli Fenichel: Ecosystem-based approaches to Natural Capital Provision: A Natural Capital approach to Caribou Conservation

Lunch Keynote by Paul Ekins: Key Themes and Knowledge Gaps in Natural Capital Research: An Overview of the GGKP Natural Capital Working Group Research Programme

Keynote by Colin Mackie: Mitigating Ecosystem Risk with Financial Assurance

The Symposium provided an excellent opportunity for members of the research network, including academics, graduate students, and private and public sector partners, to connect with domestic experts and practitioners to examine the mix of policy tools and measures needed to promote more efficient, productive, sustainable use of Canada’s natural capital and the transition to a circular economy. The discussions and research questions identified over the course of the two days will feed into our next call for research proposals, informing targeted and policy-relevant research to be completed over the coming years.

To learn more about the Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network click here.

Questions? Please contact us at research.network@smartprosperity.ca