From South Wales to São Paulo: What can we learn from comparing environmental policy development across the globe?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sao-Paulo

Dr David Botterill, Senior Research Fellow in the Oxford School of Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes, has recently completed a project in collaboration with the Newton Fund and international colleagues and explains what we can learn from global research partnerships.

"In recent years and in the coming month, the world’s gaze will focus on Brazil. Much of this attention has centred on global sporting events with the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. 

"Commentators in developing nations have also put the spotlight on Brazil, alongside Russia, India and China, as one of the BRIC nations which are seen as emerging knowledge-based economic powerhouses.

"It is within this context that an innovative research project I have been involved in contrasted environmental regulation on the North Coast of São Paulo State and the coast of South Wales.

From the mid-20th century, both locations have seen rapid decline of previously thriving maritime ports serving traditional industries – fishing and agriculture in São Paulo State and coal and steel in South Wales. Consequently, the economic base of both has shifted towards consumption and service industries.

Dr David Botterill, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford School of Hospitality Management

"The study’s findings are the result of collaboration between the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and colleagues from the State University Campinas in Brazil, the University of Reading and Cardiff University. 

"The project was supported by £40,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a Newton Fund grant and funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation. 

"Through this we explored best practice in transnational policy development relating to the governance of environmental quality and crime reduction. It involved comparative analysis of policy and practice in the North Coast region of São Paulo State and South Wales.

"From the mid-20th century, both locations have seen rapid decline of previously thriving maritime ports serving traditional industries – fishing and agriculture in São Paulo State and coal and steel in South Wales. 

"Consequently, the economic base of both has shifted towards consumption and service industries. Central to the service economy in both the UK and Brazil is an increasing dependence on tourism and leisure and a consequent growth in the creation of new tourism spaces. 

"In Brazil, whilst there is an apparent commitment to protecting coastal environment – primarily through legislation – the project raised questions about the effectiveness of government-led enforcement initiatives. In the UK, it was highlighted that challenges of governance stem from public funding cuts restricting agencies’ capacity to protect natural resources. The outcomes of our project focused on non-traditional and more effective means of alleviating poverty through tourism development, whilst protecting the environment and managing crime rates. 

South-Wales"We are now disseminating our findings through journal articles and presentations to improve understanding both in the UK and Brazil and any other territories which are affected by similar issues. 

"On my final trip to Brazil, as part of this research project, I paid a visit to the University of Brazilia to make new contacts and extend our network of UK-Brazilian researchers. This was with the intention of involving new colleagues from two of the University of Brasilia’s research centres – the Centre for Excellence in Tourism and the Centre for Sustainable Development.

"Following a lecture I delivered, and discussions with leaders from both Centres, an application was made by one of our UK collaborators as part of the call from British Council – Newton Fund Research Links workshops in Brazil. 

"This was successful and I will be working with my colleague Dr Rebecca Hawkins from the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Professor Trevoe Jones of Cardiff University, who submitted the bid through the Sustainable Places Research Institute. Together, we will be taking a group of 12 UK early career researchers to meet with colleagues from the University of Brasilia and a similar number of Brazilian researchers for a week of workshops in July 2016 with the intention of building a further joint UK and Brazilian research collaboration. 

"This highlights the international interest in our research findings and tallies with the Newton Fund’s aim of helping with science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of targeted developing countries. 

"This ongoing research project also fits neatly with Oxford Brookes’ International Strategix Objective of ‘establishing the University’s international strategic partnerships’ and in ‘supporting the development of a worldwide presence’.

"This is something which looks set to continue through our collaborative research project and is yet another example of the world continuing to look towards Brazil, as well as closer to home."