2010-2011 Visiting Fellow Thematic Areas

  • An Interdisciplinary Framework for Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Risk Assessment

Emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, coupled with failures in public health infrastructure, present serious challenges to the global community. A comprehensive understanding of EID demands an integrated framework that incorporates physical, social, and biological dimensions and focuses on the intersection of human and natural systems. There is a clear and immediate need to develop a better understanding of the nature, distribution and transmission of individual pathogens in the context of rapidly changing natural and social systems. Based on decades of research on land use and land cover change in the region, researchers at the East-West Center are exploring the relative importance of EID risk associated with different factors in disease emergence and distribution, which in turn can be used both to identify geographic 'hotspots' for specific EID’s as well as providing a basis for policy guidance in the form of intervention. Proposals which explore different risk factors (related to individuals, their cultural, socio-political, and economic contexts, and/or their surrounding natural environment) in infectious disease emergence or examine the interplay between natural and social systems involved in the emergence or reemergence of infectious disease are welcome.

  • Assessing Market-based Environmental Policy Instruments in Asia

Many Asian countries have traditionally relied on rigid command-and-control (CAC) approaches. With the poor environmental performance of such approaches and the cost and complexity associated with their implementation, more and more countries in this region are transforming from current reliance on CAC regulations to market-based policy instruments. Market-based instruments, such as pollution charges, green taxes, tradeable permits, and penalties for the infringement of environmental regulations, are common ways to internalize externality costs into the market prices. The added costs would be imposed on polluting companies and added to the cost of production.  These costs could be reduced by cutting pollution. This is seen to increase not only cost-effectiveness but also flexibility in complying with the set environmental regulations. Proposals that evaluate whether such instruments are effective, draw the lessons learned, and investigate the prospective for their wide implementation in Asia are welcomed.

  • Assessing Risk from Vegetation Fires

Conservatively estimated at $4.5 billion, the damage from the fires and haze in Southeast Asia (1997-1998) was more than the combined damage assessed for the Exxon Valdez oil spill and India’s Bhopal chemical disaster. Slash-and-burn methods of cultivation have largely been blamed for this. Though this is mainly an anthropogenic problem; climate phenomenon such as El Ni