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ECONOMICS OF EIS

By Mr. Svein Tveitdal

Director GRID-Arendal,
Longum Park, P.O. Box 1602 MYRENE, N-4801, Arendal, Norway.
TEL: +47-370-35500 FAX: +47-370-35050
E-mail tveitdal@grida.no


1. INTRODUCTION

2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3. BACKGROUND

4. EARLIER RESEARCH WORK ON ECONOMICS OF EIS

5. EIS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

6. RESEARCH NEEDS


1. INTRODUCTION


Information in it itself has no value. Or as Frank Turyatunga from Uganda expressed it

at one of the meetings in the committee for Environmental Information Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa recently; "information not used is information better not collected". What we need is information which allows the right decisions to be made at the right time. The information forming the basis of these decisions has to be reliable, up-to-date and easy to understand.

Since 1972 billions of dollars have been invested at the national, regional and global levels in numerous monitoring programs for all sectors affected by pollution and other phenomena threatening our environment. Although this is necessary, it is not sufficient. The lack of proper environment information systems has placed great limitations on the conversion of all these data to suitable information which can form the basis for making decisions. This information should not only be understood by scientists but also by politicians, resource managers and the general public. A quotation which illustrates this situation quite clearly is; "We have an ocean of data but only drops of information!"

Very little effort has been put into understanding the economics of environmental information and the introduction of EIS. In developing countries no research whatsoever has been found on this issue.

Important questions to be considered in the first phases of implementation of EIS in developing countries are:

• From what derives environmental information its economic value?

• How can the economic value of EIS be assessed?

• Is environmental information a "public good" which will not normally be provided by private suppliers in an ordinary market?

• Who should fund EIS in Africa?

• Should investments start now or later?

• Should we invest heavily or within the normal budget?

• Should geographical coverage be limited or comprehensive?

• What are the organisational challenges to improving economics of EIS?

This paper deals with these questions and summarises experiences from both research projects carried out in related fields such as economics of Geographic Information as well as from practical experience from projects in Africa in addition to conclusions drawn from several relevant discussions in the Sub-Saharan committee on EIS.


2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Present situation and the need for EIS

• The lack of information in developing countries may be stated in financial terms.

• The geographic information sector (map production and geographical data bases) accounts for approximately 0.5% of the GNP in most industrialised countries. For most African countries, the corresponding figure is 0.1% of far lower GNP's.

• The resultant paucity of information hinders political and economic development.

• Many African countries were once well mapped, as the colonial powers sought to administer and exploit the natural resources of their colonies, these basic investments have not been maintained.

• In many cases, data are compiled solely for project purposes without regard to other potential uses.

• The result is that data available are unwieldy and difficult to collocate in productive ways.

• 92 % of Europe is mapped in a scale of 1:25,000, which permits detailing of environmental themes. Only 2% of Africa is mapped in a scale of 1:25,000.

• Thus far, central decision makers have not emphasised the need for environmental data.

• Financial aid organisations have thus far been only moderately helpful, as their involvement has usually been limited to shortterm projects of limited geographic extent.

• Although the need for information is universally acute, most developing countries lack the financial resources and professional capability to acquire and manipulate data.

• The use of satellite data provides a rapid and costeffective means of covering larger areas.

• GIS/EIS is expected to play a key role in the development of resource management and environmental protection in developing countries in the 1990s.

Agenda 21 and EIS

• The estimated funding needed for providing the environmental information as recommended in Agenda 21 is estimated at USD 2 015 million per year up to the year 2000

• Expansion of the capacity in EIS development in developing countries is one of the main activities in the proposed programmes on environmental information.

• The amount of USD 2 015 million per year represents an almost impossible increase in investments in this area compared with the situation today.

• This gives an indication of the estimated needs for basic environmental and resource information needed to plan for a sustainable development in a global context.

Earlier research work on economics of GIS in the Nordic countries

Municipal GIS:

• Benefit-cost ratios achieved through GIS investments can easily bear comparison with the profitability requirements of private industry.

• If GIS is introduced solely as a production tool, in most cases benefit/cost ratios of about 1:1 have been found.

• Higher beneficial effects (b/c 2:1) have been achieved where GIS has been also used for internal planning and administration.

• Moreover, if the basic information can be used for new problem solving in capital-intensive activities, the benefit/cost ratio can at best rise to 5-7/1.

• The greatest beneficial effect for the community is achieved in cases where full co-ordination has been established between different organisations using the same geographical information .

GIS on the national level

• Few bodies have developed applications that represents real user experience with national geographic databases.

• Of 29 projects examined in the Nordic countries, only 7 were found to be immediately profitable, 10 were unprofitable and 12 needed additional information before a calculation could be made.

• Projects where proper feasibility studies and cost/benefit analyses had been carried out had a much higher profit frequency than technology-based or experimental projects.

• Projects with a high level of ambition (high level of integration and multiple use) tended to be most profitable. Such projects are also the most complicated and carry a higher risk, and require thorough planning and professional management.

• National survey departments are in general unfamiliar with the economic justification of investments in new technology particularly in connection with the establishment of geographic databases. This is why it is so necessary that the users must be in charge of the development.

Costs and benefits - Nordic experiences

• Measures on GIS projects which result in a benefittocost ratio of 2:1 or more should be enacted, both when assessed in commercial terms and in socio-economic terms.

• Measures which result in a benefittocost ratio between 0.8:1 and 2:1 should be analysed

further with an eye to cutting costs or increasing benefits.

• Measures which result in a benefittocost ratio of less than 0.~3:1 should be abandoned.

Potential value of EIS in Africa

• A ministry of environment, or any other body given the mandate to co-ordinate environmental information, needs an information system in order to put together and analyse data from the various sectors.

• Lack of co-ordination and co-operation between ministries and institutions responsible for resource management and environmental issues represents the normal state of affairs. This represents the biggest bottleneck for implementation of cost-efficient EIS.

• Sector-integrated information presented in an easily understandable way is a basic tool for improved decision making.

• There seems to be a big potential in achieving tangible benefits through improving information management by implementation of EIS. Countries in Africa that has started this process (i.e. Uganda) has experienced an increased number of users that get access to information much more cost-efficient than before.

• The potential for large intangible benefits also exists through improved resource management such as efficient implementation of National Environmental Action Plans.

• The establishment of an EIS in a country is probably the only cost-efficient way to improve availability of information for decision making. This gives however no guarantee for improved decisions!

• The value of project-oriented information can be increased manifold if it is taken care of and made available in a standardised form (EIS).

• Up-to-date and reliable information about our environment is crucial as a basic tool for international consensus and action.

• National environmental information systems should be internationally compatible.

EIS - A "public good" or a " marketable product"?

• A national EIS should contain both basic geographical data and thematic (sector) data as well as a reference data base (information on information).

• National map series or digital data bases, environmental information and environmental reference data bases is "public goods" (can not be provided by the market).

• Copies of data sets and information service should be provided at marginal costs

• Value-adding services should be paid in full by the market

Who should fund EIS in Africa?

• EIS in Africa can be funded by both the public and the private sector.

• Basic EIS should be funded through grants from the donor society

• Public value adding (information for specific public needs) should be funded by the Government, when appropriate through loans/soft loans from the donor society.

• Private value adding should be funded through the private market

Should EIS investments in Africa start now or later ?

• In general, the later the startup, the greater the cost of establishing databases and the longer the time before benefits are realised.

• The relevant technologies are available, so they no longer represent a bottleneck.

• Postponing a start postpones benefits and thereby lessens project profitability.

• All technologies now evolve continuously, so there is no single optimal time to start.

• Those countries who have started experimenting with GIS technology in the environmental management sector seem to be in a more favourable position than those who have not (experience from the committee for EIS in Sub-Saharan Africa).

• African countries should start their implementation of EIS as soon as possible. Efficient implementation is dependent on right approach. The most comprehensive general guidelines for EIS implementation in Africa has been developed by the committee for EIS in Sub-Saharan Africa and is hereby recommended

Should EIS investments be aggressive or within normal budgets?

In conclusion, the guidelines for levels of investment may be summarised:

• Think big but start prudently, ensure continuously monitoring of the usefulness of the information provided.

• Make major investments after a pilot project phase.

• In switching from conventional means to EIS, major investment should be carried out in the initial implementation phase in order that the project be profitable.

• Data should be rapidly converted to digital form.

• Several themes pertaining to a region or area can synergistically increase benefits to users.

Geographical Coverage and Economics

In conclusion, the guidelines for geographic coverage may be summarised:

• At least one theme covering an entire region or administrative area of responsibility has to be converted before benefits may be realised.

• Stageby-stage conversion of an EIS, whereby conventional and digital data may be used simultaneously, should be avoided.

• Managerial organisations have the greatest needs for coverages of entire regions or areas, while organisations operating on a project basis have more specific needs.

Organisational challenges for introduction of new techniques

The most important organisational aspects may be summarised as follows:

• Executive involvement is crucial to success.

• Organisational problems are usually greater than technical problems.

• The introduction of GIS effects changes in existing routines for information interchange between, and within, individual units of an organisation. Normally information flow becomes less bureaucratic.

• Altered work routines require organisational changes, normally in a less hierarchical direction..

• At least a quarter of the personnel of an organisation can be expected to oppose change.

• The initial stages of implementing an EIS may be project oriented. The organisational alterations should be tested before being finally enacted.

• Longterm organisational changes may be made after the initial operational phase of a new EIS facility.

Research needs

A research project with the following objectives is recommended to increase knowledge as to how African countries can implement EIS for improved management of complex environmental/socio-economic systems

• Develop methods and procedures for analysing how GIS&RS technologies might influence Environmental Management

• Develop methods for assessment of economic impacts due to the introduction of GIS&RS in Environmental Management

• Develop methods for assessment of sustainability of GIS&RS technology transfer to Environmental Management bodies in LDC`s

• Recommend cost recovery and funding strategies

• Methods for optimising cost efficiency in organising of a national EIS

• Evaluation of selected EIS case studies in the Sub-Saharan programme including assessment of benefit/cost aspects and actions to improve economic impact


3. BACKGROUND


3.1 The Program on Environment Information Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Bank, with other donors and international agencies, initiated this program in early 1990. The aim is to help Sub Saharan countries set up operational environmental information systems (EIS), to meet the priority demands of resource users, planners and decision makers for better renewable resource management. Such systems are key elements for National Environment Action Plans (NEAPs), which are being prepared in an increasing number of countries in Africa. Work on this program falls under the auspices of NEAPs where these are in progress.

The program supports African countries as they assess their priority needs in terms of environment and land information and analyse the technical, institutional, legal and economic issues hampering their potential to meet these needs. It assists them in finding adequate, sustainable and longterm solutions to deal with these issues.

Among the countries which are interested in the program, and have participated by sharing relevant information, are Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Involvement depends on both the interest expressed by the countries and the capacity of the international community to provide the necessary funds. Several bilateral and multilateral agencies, including the Bank, are supporting the program, and others are expected to join in.

3.2 Definitions of EIS, GIS and Remote Sensing

The definitions used in the Sub Saharan programme are as follows:

The term "environment information systems" (EIS) is used in the context of this Program to cover any organised system for environmental and natural resources data management, including geographic information systems (GIS) containing environmental data sets, and the modelling of physical, economic and social processes for the purposes of simulation and prediction. Most environmental data can be georeferenced (labelled in terms of a co-ordinate system), and presented in the form of a map. In the environment planning process, maps showing environmental, economic and social data are often superimposed so as to identify areas which are suitable or otherwise, for a particular type of management, or to predict the effects of different management strategies on different areas. The superimposition of the maps can be facilitated by a GIS.

The term "geographic information system" (GIS) usually refers to a computer system which is capable of storing, processing, integrating and presenting a variety of data in one system, where they are referenced by their geographical location. GIS functions enable data to be overlaid so that they can be compared; the updating of information to monitor changes over time; changing the scale of data sets; the derivation of "new" data by manipulating existing data sets (for example, vulnerability to soil erosion can be estimated by combining information on slope, soil type and rainfall); the integration of physical and social science data; the manipulation of data from satellite imagery; and the modelling of physical, economic and social processes for the purposes of simulation and prediction.

"Remote sensing" is defined as the observation and measurement of an object without touching it, generally from air or space borne sensors, often recorded in the form of images. In Africa, satellite remote sensing is the only way to obtain many systematic regional observations. Applications include rainfall estimation, rangeland production monitoring, food security and early-warning systems, savannah fire monitoring, ground water surveys, cartography and map updating.

3.3 Present situation and the need for EIS in developing countries

According to The World Commission on Environment and Development, as reported in Our Common Future sustainable development is the key to economic growth in development countries. Sustainable development is defined [Our Common Future, p. 46] as "a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations."

The recommendations of the World Commission are followed up in more detail in Agenda 21 as described in point 3.4 below.

One of the barriers to sustainable development is that most developing countries lack the information requisite to planning it. Typically, the depletion of natural resources accelerates, which causes deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion and extinction of an unknown number of animal and plant species (reduction of the genetic multi-fariousness). There is not enough information to permit computing the effects of climatic changes which may be triggered by global warming. Nonetheless, GIS models permit rudimentary computations.

Uncontrolled urbanisation is a growing problem in many developing countries. Lack of information is one of the greater barriers to dealing with the problem. Characteristic for the situation is that epidemics, wars and other factors have concentrated populations in areas with few available resources. Infrastructures, such as buried cables and pipes, are poorly documented in cities, which complicates repairs and, in turn, impairs electricity and water supply.

The lack of information in developing countries may be stated in financial terms. As of the early 1990s, the total geographic information sector accounted for approximately 0.5% of the GNP in most industrialised countries. For most African countries, the corresponding figure was 0.1% of far lower GNP's.

The resultant paucity of information hinders political and economic development. History underscores the connection between information and development. Many African countries once were well mapped, as the colonial powers sought to administer and exploit the natural resources of their colonies. In most cases, this information resource has not been maintained.

In many cases, data are compiled for project purposes with no regard to other uses. The qualities of these data collections and the acquisition methods employed are frequently unknown. The result is that data available are unwieldy and difficult to collocate in productive ways.

Recent UN agency and World Bank studies have underscored the need for improved geographical information in developing countries world-wide, particularly in Africa. The potential gain may be illustrated by comparison. As much as 92% of Europe is mapped in a scale of 1:25,000, which permits detailing of environmental themes. Only 2% of Africa is mapped in a scale of 1:25,000 .

Thus far, central decision makers have not emphasised the need for environmental data. This lack of political interest coupled with inadequate overviews of natural resources results in uninformed decision making. Financial aid organisations have thus far been only moderately helpful, as their involvement have usually been limited to shortterm projects of limited geographic extent.

Although the need for information is universally acute, most developing countries lack the financial resources and professional capabilities to acquire and manipulate data. The geographic information technologies may help resolve the dilemma. The use of satellite data provides a rapid and costeffective means of covering larger areas. Entering data in GIS/EIS entails structured, standardised storage which simplifies retrieval and collocation. GIS tools may be used to execute both simple and complex tasks, and data may be presented on map sheets or in reports. GIS/EIS is expected to play a key role in the development of resource management and environmental protection in developing countries in the 1990s.

Even though GIS technologies are well suited to solving the information problems of developing countries as a basis for improved resource management, economic growth and sustainable development, the hightech approach may involve problems due to:

• Political circumstances. Urgent needs are so overwhelming that long term

investments, even of modest character, are difficult to accept.

• Cultural traditions. Information has been used as power for individuals and

organisations and not as a public good.

• Management conditions. GIS/EIS might represent a challenge to a traditional

hierarchical organisation.

• Lack of expertise and "brain drain".

• Inadequate infrastructure

• Extreme climates

• Insufficient financial resources

3.4 Agenda 21 and EIS

There are more than 2000 cross references to Environmental Information in Agenda 21. The Rio Conference addressed the above issue in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21. The essence of this nine-page long Chapter is that:

• There is a need for environmental information at all levels, from that of senior decision makers at national and international levels to the grass-root and individual levels;

• The following two programme areas need to be implemented to ensure that decisions are increasingly based on sound information: A: Bridging the data gap and B: Improving information availability;

A: Bridging the data gap:

The objectives are:

• To achieve more cost-effective and relevant data collection and assessment by improved identification of users;

• To strengthen the local, provincial, national and international capacity for collection and use of multi-sectoral information in decision-making processes;

• To develop means of ensuring that planning for sustainable development is based on timely, reliable and usable information;

• To make relevant information accessible in the form and at the time required to facilitate its use.

Recommended main activities are:

• Development of indicators of sustainable development;

• Promotion of global use of indicators of sustainable development;

• Improvement of data collection and use;

• Improvement of methods of data assessment and analysis (including the establishment of national and international data and information centres using Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) techniques);

• Strengthening the capacity for traditional information.

Means of implementation are:

• Required annual funding (1993-2000) $ 1.9 billion;

• Strengthening of relevant existing institutions like UNEP/GEMS/GRID, better co-ordination in the UN system, perhaps through an equivalent and complementary "Development Watch " to the existing Earthwatch;

• Human resources development at all levels and transfer of appropriate technologies to developing countries;

• All countries should strengthen their capacity to collect, store, organise, assess and use data more effectively in their decision-making.

B. Improving availability of information

The objectives are to:

• Strengthen the national and international mechanisms for the processing and exchange of information;

• Strengthen national capacities in information processing and communication within Governments, NGO`s and the private sector;

• Full participation of developing countries especially, within the organs and organisations of the UN system for the collection, analysis and use of data and information.

Recommended main activities are:

• Production of information usable for decision-making in countries and international organisations;

• Establishment of standards and methods for handling information;

• Development of information documentation;

• Establishment and strengthening of electronic networking capabilities;

• Making use of commercial information sources.

Means of implementation are:

• Required annual funding of (1993-2000) $ 165 million;

• Strengthening already established institutions;

• Developed countries and relevant international organisations should co-operate with developing countries, extending their ability to receive, store and retrieve, contribute, disseminate, use and provide appropriate public access to relevant environmental and development information;

• Support to research and development of hardware, software and other aspects of information technology.

As one can see from the above summary, the estimated funding needed for providing the environmental information as recommended in Agenda 21 is estimated at USD 2 015 billion per year (programme A + B) up to the year 2000, and that expansion of the capacity in EIS development in developing countries is one of the main activities in the proposed follow-up programmes. The amount of USD 2 015 billion per year represents a dramatic increase in investments in this area compared with the situation today. It is also clear that this money will not be available. However it gives an indication of the estimated needs for basic environmental and resource information needed to plan for a sustainable development in a global context. If basic environmental and resource information is not taken care of in a national system (EIS) the value of information is very much reduced. This is a normal situation in developing countries. The result is not only the inefficient collection of data and information but, more importantly, a deterioration in the quality and cost efficiency of the whole implementation process, as exemplified, in this case, by Agenda 21!


4. EARLIER RESEARCH WORK ON ECONOMICS OF EIS


4. 1 NORDIC KVANTIF I - THE COST-EFFICIENT INTRODUCTION OF GIS AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL

The costs of operating and maintaining municipal engineering facilities in the Nordic countries is estimated at more than $ 15 billion annually. Geographical information is needed not only for operation and maintenance but also for planning, design and decision making. These activities are being increasingly computerised.

Even small improvements in information processing can have far reaching economic consequences, in view of the large sums ofmoney already mentioned. In order to understand better the potential economics of the introduction of GIS, the NORDIC KVANTIF I research project was carried out in the period 1985-87. In this chapter are summarised some of the conclusions from the final project report regarding costs and benefits.

Costs and Benefits

Studies during the project showed that benefit-cost ratios achieved through GIS investments can easily bear comparison with the profitability requirements of private industry. At the same time, it was apparent that questions concerning the organisation of the activities involved often presented a greater problem than the purely technical issues. Therefore, in order to achieve the potential and demonstrable beneficial effects, direction and control have to be exercised from the right level. For example, if the aim is to obtain digital support for the supply and handling of positional information common to everybody who is actively involved within a particular field, a highlevel of control will be necessary. On the other hand, if the aim is to obtain digital support for the production of maps within an administration or for a particular product, this will not call for such a high level of control. The diagram below shows that the benefit/–cost ratio obtainable through GIS introduction is dependent on the level of ambition.

Figure 1

We found that where GIS is introduced solely as a production tool, in most cases benefit/cost ratios of about 1:1 were achieved. It would be possible to reduce the drafting staff by about half, but it is necessary to invest in expensive equipment and operator training. Even where the need for drafting staff was reduced, we found that in nearly all cases idle personnel were allocated to more useful and interesting tasks in the organisation instead of being laid off.

Higher beneficial effects have been achieved where GIS has also been used for internal planning and administration (the users of the information) in the actual organisation. At the same time costs were somewhat higher as more equipment and training are needed. Benefit/cost ratios of at least 2:1 should be achieved. Moreover, if the basic information can be used for new problem solving in capital intensive activities, the benefit/cost ratio can at best rise to 5-7/1.

The greatest beneficial effect for the community is achieved in cases where full co-ordination has been established between different organisations using the same geographical information for planning, design and administration of, for example, public utilities. A ratio of at least 4:1 should be obtainable.

We have defined the above statements as the "1:2:4 rule" for benefits from GIS introduction. The Nordic countries have through their political systems a favourable basis for achieving a high level of co-ordination and correspondingly high benefit from GIS. Normally, public utilities such as water, sewerage, electricity and telecommunications are administrated by the municipality or the government. In the USA for example, where most of the utilities are operated by private companies we found a low level of co-operation to be the norm. Benefit/cost ratios here were normally around 2:1 in efficient cases. This Was, however, sufficient to make GIS investments a competitive alternative to other investments.

The chart below illustrates a healthy, positive development of cost/benefit relations. A picture of this kind is only obtainable with a properly thought out strategy. The project has shown that the likelihood of finding a proper strategy is distinctly increased where the introduction of GIS begins with cost/benefit analyses based on needs assessments.

Figure 2

4.2 NORDIC KVANTIF II - THE COST EFFICIENT INTRODUCTION OF GIS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL

This research project was a follow up to Nordic KVANTIF I and was mainly concerned with the economy of nation-wide or small-scale databases holding digital geographic information. Such databases are currently being introduced by all Nordic mapping authorities to improve the traditional production of printed maps and charts. However, the advent of GIS technology opens up a whole range of opportunities for applying these geographic data into new and more productive tasks. Thus the shift of basic map production technology poses new challenges to the mapping authorities. A thorough rethinking of strategies for the construction of new, small-scale databases is required to ensure the adaptability to emerging market needs.

The NORDIC KVANTIF II project was a joint effort by the Nordic National Mapping Authorities to examine these challenges.

The two main aims of the project were to:

• Study the economic costs and benefits of new nation-wide databases comprising small-scale digital geographic information.

• Evaluate present plans and programs for the establishment of such databases in the Nordic countries and to make recommendations to improve current strategies.

Compared to the previous KVANTIF project, the empirical evidence was considerably more difficult to present, as it was only possible to identify a very limited number of data-base implementations and application systems within the Nordic countries.

The findings from this project can be summarised as follows:

• Few bodies have developed applications that represents real user experience with national geographic databases.

• Of 29 projects examined in the Nordic countries, only 7 were found to be immediately profitable, 10 were unprofitable and 12 needed additional information before a calculation could be made.

• Projects where proper feasibility studies and cost/benefit analyses had been carried out had a much higher profit frequency than technology-based or experimental projects. Of 14 projects without prior economic analyses 7 were found unprofitable and the rest could not be assessed without additional information.

• Projects with a high level of ambition (high level of integration and multiple use) tended to be most profitable. Such projects are also the most complicated and carry a higher risk, and require thorough planning and professional management.

• The Nordic National Survey Departments were in general unfamiliar with the economic justification of investments in new technology particularly in connection with the establishment of geographic databases. This is why it is so necessary that the users must be in charge of the development.

The Nordic KVANTIF II project further discusses in depth the following issues:

• Models for cost/benefit analyses of digital database projects and strategies for the introduction of new digital database products and services.

• Financial aspects of small-scale digital databases and, in particular, the economic reasons for public financing.

• Co-operation with other organisations to promote market development and meet user demands involving digital, small-scale geographic information.

• The changing economic nature of geographic information products.

• The impact of new technology at the stage of value formation in the provision of geographic information products.

• The nature of user benefits from geographic information products.

• Organisational implications.

• Product specification for new digital geographic information products based on economic analyses.

• Cost analyses of new products.

• Design and implementation of a New Products User Survey.

• Assessment of total market size.

• Economic evaluation.

• A framework for Strategic Analyses of the introduction of new geographic information products.

• A framework for Market Development through co-operation between various organisations.

The Nordic KVANTIF I and II projects are probably the most comprehensive studies conducted so far dealing with the economics of geographic information. The methods and findings from these reports might be used also for investigating the economics of EIS, and are used as the main scientific background for the discussions below. For further studies the reports of reference 5 and 6 are recommended.


5. EIS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


5. 1 THE POTENTIAL VALUE OF EIS IN AFRICA

Based on the background description and experience from research work on the economics of GIS as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4 above, one can assume that governments in developing countries can also benefit from taking into use new information technology in an economic way and increasing the value of existing and new information by introducing EIS.

Let me illustrate this by using some typical examples of hindrances to maximum distribution of the benefits of information and which I assume to be characteristic of most developing countries today.

Example I - The need for sector co-ordination

Our ecosystem is a fine balance between areas and sectors such as the quality of water and air, development of forestry, agriculture, fisheries and industry, climate and population, wildlife, biodiversity etc. A variety of government

ministries and independent institutions are responsible for various parts of this ecosystem. Lack of co-ordination and co-operation between these parties represents the normal state of affairs . A Ministry of Environment or any other body given the mandate to co-ordinate these efforts needs an integrated system in order to put together and analyse data from the various sectors.

Sector-integrated information presented in an easily understandable way is a basic tool for improved decision making.

The establishment of an EIS in a country is the only cost-efficient way to improve on this situation, as no alternatives except for the status quo is known. In order to give the country access to proper EIS technology and data sets, management tools and the sharing of experience with similar systems in other countries, the system should be internationally compatible.

Example II - The vested project oriented information

Let me give an example from Lesotho. This example is characteristic of the situation in most developing, and also in many developed, countries. Eighty major development projects in various sectors in Lesotho were investigated. Each and every project, without exception, needed geographical information as a basic input. And, even more interesting, 50 of the projects produced geographical information useful for environmental assessment and resource management. In all 80 projects a great deal of time and money were used in the collection and integration of incompatible data from various sources. In most of the 50 projects that produced environmental or resource information, this information was simply discarded at the end of the project. In the best cases information was filed in the form of reports. On completion of these 80 projects the general availability of environmental information in Lesotho was not improved at all. If a national Environmental Information System is established, project-oriented information can be accumulated in a systematic way and shared with new projects in the future. The value of information can be increased many times if it is taken care of and made available in a standardised form. An EIS in Lesotho will contribute to increased value of information and better resource management and protection of the environment in Lesotho in the future.

Example III - International compatibility increases information value

The pollution of air and oceans, climate change, destruction of the ozone layer and reduction of our renewable resources is not limited by national borders. Resource management and environmental protection cannot be solved separately by each government alone, but only as the result of joint international efforts. This was the main issue at the recent conference in Rio. Up-to-date and reliable information about our environment is crucial as a basic tool for international consensus and action. To achieve this, national environmental information systems must also be internationally compatible. To illustrate this, let me refer to all the reports on the "State of the Environment" that almost all governments provided for the Rio conference. All these reports together represent a tremendous source of information about the state of the world today with regard to the environment. But, put together in an internationally compatible Environmental Information System, the value of this information and its potential for supporting international consensus and action would be enhanced dramatically.

The solution to the problems described in the examples above seems difficult to solve without establishing national Environmental Information Systems. Such systems should collect, store, analyse and disseminate information from all sectors forming parts of, or affecting, the ecosystem. The systems should also be internationally compatible. For updating and analysis purposes, such systems should be computer based and use Geographical Information System (GIS) technology.

Governments in developing countries use only an average of 0.1 % of their GNP on basic geographic information compared with 0.5 % of a much higher GNP in the developed world. The result is a lot of project-oriented information management as in the Lesotho case described above. There seems to be a big potential in achieving tangible benefits by improving the information management through implementation of EIS in developing countries. It is obvious that the potential for large intangible benefits also exists through improved resource management such as the efficient implementation of National Environmental Action Plans.

5.2 Methods for calculating the economic value of EIS

Methods for calculation of the economic value of GIS are developed through the Nordic KVANTIF I and II projects (Reference 5 and 6) and further described in Tor Bernhardsen's "Geographic Information Systems" as follows:

Financial evaluations: Cost/Benefit Analyses

User surveys and pilot projects normally provide the basis for analyses. Conclusions from the above should state the aims and identify the measures to be enacted. Analysis of cost/benefit ratios is an important part of the overall analysis.

The purpose of financial evaluations is mainly to:

• strengthen the basis for decision making
• increase benefits
• build awareness of financial impact
• develop motivation
• enhance planning

Other motives include:


• rank prospective projects (GIS vs. others)
• rank alternative designs and methods
• delineate the need for further studies or planning
• rework the project for greater profitability

Theoretical Basis

In business, costing tends to focus on efficiency and increased productivity resulting from a new technology is usually expressed in terms of profitability (financial analyses).

Governmental agencies evaluating changes to new technologies, however, often take socio-economic factors into consideration. This necessitates a broad view that includes both internal efficiency and external effectiveness. Socio-economic costing, therefore, is based on the inclusion of all parties likely to be affected by the change under consideration (economic analyses).

In a company or municipal department, internal efficiency, or benefit, can be measured either in terms of increased productivity or as savings in time and money. However, time savings are relevant only if they can be used to equal advantage elsewhere. From a socio-economic viewpoint, such savings seldom pose problems when there is a shortage of qualified workers. In periods of high unemployment, however, they may cause redundancies, thus increasing the number of unemployment benefit claims. Considerations like these dictate that, for analytical purposes, a minimum tangible benefit level should be set. The external effectiveness of an organisation is determined by how well it serves its users, both public and private. For users, increased effectiveness is manifested in lower costs, higher productivity or both.

Changes in technology often upgrade executive awareness, improve service and create more meaningful work for the staff. Whilst such ancillary effects are difficult to quantify, they should nevertheless be included in an overall assessment.

Costbenefit analyses customarily weigh various alternatives against each other with respect to their applicability over a prescribed time period. The zero alternative, which retains the status quo with no change of technology, is always included. This requires a prediction of future events without the new technology. Other alternatives may incorporate varying degrees of technological change, but they must be pure; that is to say, each individual costbenefit assessment must be independent of the costs and benefits that would accrue if there were no technological change.

In principle, socio-economic evaluations and business economic evaluations comprise the same phases:

1. Problem identification

• conceivable potentials of the new technology
• identification of users


2. Pinpointing various courses of action

• zero alternative (status quo) and technical alternatives
• investment in the new technology vs. other investments

3. Assessing the benefit and cost aspects of all alternatives

4. Reference benefits and costs to a single point in time for accurate comparison, i.e. Net Present Value (NPV) calculations

5. Formulate suitable selection criteria so that consistent priorities may be assigned to the various alternatives for investment.

6. Monitor the outcome and verify results of implementation.

Costs

Commercial cost assessment is usually straightforward. Yet when socio-economic factors are involved, cost accounting becomes tenuous, because the complete effects of investments elude precise definition. For instance, a national map service may accurately estimate the initial cost of a new map series, as the costs of geodetic data, map making, field surveys, reproduction and the like are well known. However, the ultimate distribution of costs among the various end products, such as ordinary map sheets, digital map data, and so on, is seldom as accurately known.

Cost accounts usually include:

• Inception studies
• Software
• Software maintenance
• Equipment
• Equipment maintenance
• Pilot project
• Database creation
• Communications/data network
• Conversions
• Training
• Software development
• System operation
• Supplies
• Updating databases
• Administration
• Cost of capital
• Insurance
• Rent

In addition, there may be intangible liabilities including:

• increased vulnerability caused by reliance on computers which may fail owing to hardware, or software malfunctions or failures
• poorer working environment, owing to equipmentgenerated noise, tedious digitalisation tasks, etc.
• increased entrylevel competence can bar some staff members

Benefits

The tangible benefits which may accrue can be divided into two categories:

Benefits in personnel resources:

• fewer tasks
• less manual intervention
• reduction in permanent staff required
• reduction in temporary staff required
• less overtime
• fewer persons involved
• savings in consultant fees

Benefits in production:

• information more rapidly available
• greater task turnover
• more rapid production
• new products and services
• faster processing
• cheaper updating
• more efficient invoicing of fees, etc.
• improved internal and external communication

The intangible benefits may include:

• Higher quality goods and services
• More conclusive decisions
• More rapid decisions
• More, betterused information and improved service
• Finer analyses

• Superior plans, strategic positioning and management
• Greater understanding of problems
• Enhanced expertise and more challenging work
• Stronger competitive ability
• Upgraded capability of organisation
• More career options
• Less routine work
• Keener financial management

All vital intangible effects, positive and negative, should be described and

assessed in the decision making process.

A typical computation is labour savings expressed in manyears, based on a productivity increase of 10 % per staff member. The unit price would then be the average staff labour cost per year.

Costs and benefits often occur at different times, with costs usually being incurred before benefits accrue. Both costs and benefits may be divided into nonrecurring values and annual values. These differences must be resolved so the various values may be directly compared. Future values must be stated in terms of present values, uncorrected for price level fluctuations. For instance, an income of one thousand monetary units received five years hence will, owing to inflation, be worth less than a present income of one thousand of the same monetary units. Consequently, future values must be discounted to permit assessment in terms of present values.

The usual procedure involves computing the Net Present Value (NPV) of a potential investment or project. The NPV is the aggregate difference between the discounted value of the expected benefits, or returns, and the discounted value of the expected costs. It is computed by the relationship of the equation below:

T
NVP = (Sum-of) Bt - Ct/( 1 - r)t
t=0

where B is the benefit, or return, and C the cost at time t in years, r is the discount rate, and T is the time horizon, the point in time defined as the end of the economic life of the project or the time at which the assessment no longer evaluates costs and benefits.

The final computational result strongly depends on the interest rate chosen. In general, the interest rate should be high for highrisk projects, shortterm projects or combinations thereof. In Norway, the Ministry of Finance uses a real discount rate of 7% in economic calculations. The rate used is often the difference between the rate of inflation and the borrowing rate.

The time horizon is determined by the projected economic life of the investment or project involved. The time horizon of most computerisation projects is five years. however, the time horizon of GIS projects is longer, usually about ten years. This is because the data employed in GIS are valid over longer periods of time.

Alternatives are often ranked in terms of their respective benefitcost ratios, which are the ratios of the present values of their aggregate benefits to aggregate costs, as indicated in the Eq. below.

Net present value of benefits
Benefit/cost ratio = ----------------------------------------
Net present value of costs

The benefit-cost ratio usually provides the best index for ranking alternatives. However, in some cases, such as where alternatives involving considerably different levels of costs are involved, the aggregate net benefit is also useful. As indicated in the equation below, it is the difference between benefits and costs:

Net benefit = Net present value of benefits + Net present value of costs

Methods which do not include considerations of time and interest rates can not be used as profitability criteria.

Sensitivity Analysis

The cost-benefit analyses involved in decision problems are invariably based on assumptions. The role of the assumptions, however, is not always clear at the outset. Therefore, a sensitivity analysis is often performed to identify the assumptions to which the outcome of the costbenefit analysis is sensitive.

A sensitivity analysis involves changing the assumptions or parameters of the decision problem to reveal how the changes affect the outcome. The analysis involves individual computations, which may be based on pessimistic or optimistic assumptions. The parameters which may be changed include:

• The horizon

• Discount rate

• Order of activities

• Rate of investment

Evaluating Alternatives

There are no exact measures for assessing costbenefit alternatives. However, ruleofthumb experience as derived from analyses in the Nordic countries indicates the following:

• Measures which result in a benefittocost ratio of 2:1 or more should be enacted, both when assessed in commercial terms and in socio-economic terms.

• Measures which result in a benefittocost ratio between 0.8:1 and 2:1 should be analysed further with an eye to cutting costs or increasing benefits.

• Measures which result in a benefittocost ratio of less than 0.~3:1 should be abandoned.

A research project similar to the Nordic KVANTIF Projects should be conducted to specifically focus on costs and benefits in connection with the implementation of EIS in developing countries. Due to the existing lack of information or availability of existing information the benefit/cost ratio is expected to be very high if the right strategy is used. The annual cost of implementation of EIS in Uganda implemented through the establishment of a National Environmental Information Centre (NEIC) is estimated at USD 500 000 .

5.3 EIS - A "public good" or a "private market product"?

Market conditions may be such that, in the long run, more effective solutions can be found by collective action. If such co-operation occur as self-organised activities among users, sources and intermediaries, it may be seen as support for market solutions. But in certain situations markets fail to organise properly, and it is only then society should interfere with corrective measures. We can call this a situation where we have an imperfect market. It is clear that this is the case regarding resource and environmental information in Africa since the lack of proper information is the conclusion on all serious discussions about information needs, and the fact that the market has not provided such information in Africa for the last 20 years. The problem is what part of an EIS should be a public good and what part should be provided by the market. This issue is discussed regarding National Geographic Databases in general in

Nordic KVANTIF II ( Ref. 6):

"Public goods give rise to benefits not only to one private purchaser, but remain to be benefited by unlimited numbers of consumers. The amount of a public good supplied cannot be consumed in an economic sense (so, the term "user" is more relevant than "consumer"). It would be inefficient use of resources invested to exclude any user from partaking in the benefits from the investments, when such use would not reduce availability to others. Full costing and market pricing are means of exclusion from use, and would not be desired in this case. Marginal costing should be the principle of exclusion in mapping authorities when basic geographic data are concerned. The question here, however, is if GIS value-adding activities are also public goods, apart from basic collecting, storing and geometric processing".

It is obvious that basic map production, as part of defence and national survey judicial branches, is a public good. But, with new techniques, a GIS production process can be tailored to each specific user need. If so, the GIS good to a large extent can be made more private, particularly in the more important value adding steps. In short, GIS techniques allow sharply decreasing degree of collectivity in output if requested by users, and some parts of descriptive data can be managed by private intermediaries and many different source actors. There is not one well-defined public good any longer, but rather a vast number of processing possibilities, making not the product, but the processing resources scarce. The central question here is if advanced GIS value adding activities are called for in the mapping authorities, within the government financed area. What type and quality of GIS goods should be produced, and what price should be paid for special processing? Can this be arranged between small private businesses, without a central unit, the latter only providing aerial photography "map" data and the reference system to the Earth? This also depends on production economies.

EIS products can be financed through three models;

1. As a public good, i.e. funding is provided by Government and made available free to all interested users

2. Through marginal costs, i.e. a traditional National Mapping Authority where all basic costs are provided by the Government such as ground control, aerial photography, photogrammetric and cartographic work etc., but where the users are paying for the reproduction costs per printed map. Free distribution to the public may result in the map product being used as a piece of paper rather than as a map.

3. Through the market, i.e. one user or, group of users, pays for the whole production process and then owns the data. This is the case in project-oriented mapping.

Based on experience from the Nordic research projects and case studies in Africa, the following proposal for the market structure of a national EIS in Africa is proposed as a basic guideline:

Public goodMarginal (duplication)Market costs
Basic geographical informationCopies of data setsValue added products
Environmental information Info service
  
Reference (meta) data
  
  

A national EIS should contain both basic geographical information (topography, infrastructure etc.) and thematic (sector) data as well as a reference data base on available resource/environment information not controlled by the EIS itself. Information held by the EIS should be distributed to users for marginal costs, i.e. price for the media as diskettes, magnetic tapes, CD-ROM, paper plots, prints, handling, PTT, etc. Value adding products from the EIS like modelling and analyses for specific purposes should be funded separately from the market. Value-adding products provided by the government should, if suitable for common use, be transported back to the EIS and treated as a public good. An example of how this model will greatly enhance the value of public investments is where resource and environmental information now funded by different donors through various development projects is being discarded after use in each specific project.

5.4 Who should fund EIS in Africa?

A consequence from the above recommendations is that EIS in Africa should be funded by both the public and the private sectors. The problem is to find the right balance, and to decide how much of the public funding should be provided by the Government itself from its own resources or through grants from the donor society.

It seems obvious that the public part should provide the basic components of an EIS, since, as discussed earlier, the private market is imperfect with regard to providing this product. The existing situation in Africa can be expressed as a vicious circle where there are so many urgent basic needs that governments have not been able to invest in long-term information building (our committee has concluded that the full implementation time for an EIS can be as long as 15-20 years). At the same time, short-term problem solving is difficult and expensive owing to lack of basic information. To break this circle, some sort of agreement has to be made between governments and donors. The effective implementation of EIS is dependent on not only financial resources but a strong will to co-ordinate information production and management. My general recommendation is that EIS should be provided initially on a grant basis, but only if governments are willing to take the organisational consequences and put effort into national co-ordination between Ministries and institutions involved with collection, storing and dissemination of environmental and resource information. This means a strong commitment from inter-ministerial authorities like the Prime Minister`s office or a Ministry of Environment given the mandate to co-ordinate information on an inter-ministerial basis.

The donor society has also a large share of the responsibility for the present bad situation. Lack of knowledge often results in project-oriented information management as described earlier. Of less, or even directly negative support, can be to support GIS in one specific sector without ensuring national compatibility or access to the output as a public good. This might, in the worst case, result in the build-up of competing public institutions trying to survive by protecting and selling their information to other users in the country, the consequence of which would be to create difficulties rather than promote the development of a compatible and efficient national EIS.

Value-adding products from the EIS provided from the public market might be on a loan basis or funded directly by government, as such value adding is normally initiated for a specific short term benefit like more cost-efficient management or development of a specific sector, development of tourism etc.

Private value adding products should be fully funded by the market.

My recommendation on funding mechanisms of EIS is depicted in the table below:

ProductGrantLoan Private market
Basic EISX
 
 
Public value adding
 
X
 
Private value adding
 
 
X

5.5 Should EIS investments in Africa start now or later?

One of the prime decisions to be made in all changes of technology is whether to start now or later, so also is the case when considering the implementation of national EIS based on GIS technology. The KVANTIF study conducted in the Nordic countries indicates that no users with operating GIS facilities felt that they should have postponed their changes to GIS. In fact some felt they should have started earlier. The only regret voiced was that some felt that they might have started in another way. In short, the study indicated that an organisation contemplating GIS should initiate the relevant activities as soon as possible.

In general, the later the startup, the greater the cost of establishing databases and the longer the time before benefits are realised. As illustrated in Figure 3, a late start may cost no more than an early start, but may result in fewer aggregate benefits. The benefittocost ratio is therefore lower.

Figure 3

Early vs. late start up of GIS facility. Early start data A results in higher benefit-cost ratio than later start date B

One of the more common justifications for postponing an investment in a new technology is that new and better technology will soon be available. The experience of GIS users thus far indicates that such postponements seldom prove profitable if the system is implemented in a proper way. The continuous evolution of all the technologies involved in GIS implies that the basic decision as to whether to invest now or later remains, regardless of when it is made.

In summary, the factors that should influence the decision of when to start include:

• The relevant technologies are available, so they no longer comprise a bottleneck.

• Postponing a start postpones benefits and thereby lessens project profitability.

• All technologies now evolve continuously, so there is no one best time to start.

From the Sub Saharan committees experience there seems to be no indication that the same arguments are not equally valid in Africa. Those countries which have started experimenting with GIS technology in the environmental management sector seem to be in a more favourable position to deal efficiently with the resource management and sustainable development issues than those which have not. There is of course a lot of difficulties revealed, but again the problems faced is not when or not to start but how. The general recommendations based on experience outside and inside Africa is therefore that African countries should start implementation of EIS as soon as possible , and the main challenge is how to do this in the most efficient way, whilst taking local conditions into consideration.

5.6 Should investments be aggressive or within normal budgets?

The crucial choice to be made in investments is usually between constraining investments in new technologies within conventional budgets and considering more extensive investments.

As is the case for almost all changes from traditional to electronic technologies, the initial investments are relatively large yet short term. This trend should be exploited, as by establishing EIS quickly to realise the benefits it generate. Prolonging the establishment of a database, by stretching it over phases involving both conventional analogue and computer digital data, only escalates costs without a correspond increase in benefits. As shown in Figure 4 cautious investment often yields less than aggressive investment.

Figure 4

Agressive investment often yields more than cautious investment. As shown in A, linear investment within the constraints of a conventional budget produces linear benefits, which may prove unprofitable. As shown in B, a major early investment, such as in the conversion of an entire database, can yield benefits that rapidly exceeds costs, for greater profitability

Once an EIS is planned, the question arises as to which element of it should be installed first. From an investment viewpoint, the part that yields the greatest proven benefit should be first. But for most users, a part comprising several georeferenced themes concerning a single area or region provides the more comprehensive initial benefit. This is because the various themes are often mutually synergistic. For instance, a digitised sector set of layers enables GIS to provide analyses and information within that specific sector. However, if several sectors are digitised in the EIS the GIS can provide additional information. Since our ecosystem is a fine balance between areas and sectors such as the quality of water and air, development of forestry, agriculture, fisheries and industry, climate and population, wildlife, biodiversity etc., the capabilities of an EIS to provide proper analyses and understanding of this ecosystem is enhanced exponentially as more sectors are included in the EIS.

• In conclusion, the guidelines for levels of investment may be summarised:

• Think big but start prudently.

• Make major investments after a pilot project phase.

• In switching from conventional means to EIS, major investment should be

committed in the initial implementation phase in order that the project be

profitable.

• Data should be rapidly converted to digital form.

• Several themes pertaining to a region or area can synergistically increase

benefits to users.

5.7 Geographical Coverage and Economics

As a rule, the basic decision to be made concerning geographical coverage within the scope of a national EIS is whether to provide full digital coverage of the country or fully digitise information only for areas of greater activity and more rapid change. Again, the economics of the relevant benefittocost ratios are the best criteria for decisionmaking.

Different user organisations have differing needs for the geographical coverage of digital information. The distinctions involved are often dictated by functional or administrative divisions, such as townships, regions, counties or the whole country. In general, a need for digital geographic coverage should be completely fulfilled before the user realises benefits. This is because stage-by-stage shifts invariably include periods when both conventional end digital data are used, which usually increases the work involved in producing a given final product.

Consequently, as a rule the most costeffective approach is for a user organisation to start with full geographic coverage, even though full coverage requires a greater initial investment in data acquisition, operation and maintenance. The distinction between the coverage needs of various organisations is therefore not one of coverage itself, but rather of the regions or areas of responsibility involved.

Figure 5

Usefulness depends on geographic coverage, thematic coverage and data quality. These three parameters may be viewed as defining a "usefulness cube" (Ken Jones)

A managerial organisation, as a major governmental agency, has usually to maintain full geographic coverage of its entire area of responsibility. An organisation dealing with projects, such as a road works department, needs only cover data involved in its projects.

In conclusion, the guidelines for geographic coverage may be summarised:

At least one theme covering an entire region or administrative area of responsibility has to be converted before benefits can be realised.

Stagewise conversion of an EIS, in which conventional and digital data may be used simultaneously, should be avoided.

Managerial organisations have the greatest needs for coverages of entire regions or areas, while organisations operating on a project basis have fewer needs.

The potential usefulness, or benefit accrued, depends to a great degree on geographic coverage, thematic coverage and data quality. These three parameters may be regarded as a "usefulness space" or "usefulness cube," as shown in Fig ..........

5.8 Organisational challenges arising from introduction of new techniques

The efficient exploitation of a new technology in an organisation often requires alterations in work routines and chains of command which, in turn, affect the overall organisation. In practice, altering an organisation may prove difficult, both because the organisational structure is intangible and hence difficult to define, and because there are both invariably formal and informal positions in all chains of command. Changing the organisation changes staff authorities and relationships, and staff changes always bring in human factors that are difficult to predict or control.

Consequently, organisational matters are vital in all initial implementations of EIS facilities. The organisational problems are often more complex and more crucial to success than are the technical problems involved. As a rule, technical problems can be solved in a straightforward manner, by purchasing and installing new equipment, new software modules, and so on. Purchasing incurs costs but, in a wellplanned project, these costs are anticipated. Changing and replacing staff members is less straightforward, and may trigger unanticipated problems. Hence, organisational matters usually require more continuous management attention than do technical problems.

Consequently, one goal of any case study should be to delineate alternative future organisation models and to recommend ways of testing their validity. New staff positions must be described, complete with descriptions of tasks, duties and responsibilities. In principle, new tasks and new data flows may be described independently of the persons, groups or departments ultimately responsible. So staff structures should be redefined, and management modified accordingly.

Information availability is vital to a viable EIS. Whenever information availability is restricted, EIS utility suffers. So the common penchant of an agency or department to monopolise its own information is one of the major foes of a successful EIS. Consequently, one of the problems encountered in implementing an EIS facility may involve combating the bureaucracy that blocks information flow.

Other subjective factors can further complicate the implementation of an EIS. Human habit apparently dictates that about a quarter of the personnel in any organisation always prefer the status quo and will oppose any change whatsoever. Except in hightech firms, executives are often indifferent to newer information technologies, partly out of ignorance and partly from being overly concerned with cutting costs rather than increasing benefits. However, as executive support is crucial to the success of an EIS implementation, initial presentations may be more readily received if they contain clear executive summaries and concise examples of the utility of EIS in sectors known to be of interest to the executives concerned.

Successful projects are often enthusiastically conducted by middle management, who often seek the benefits of new technologies while resisting extensive organisational changes.

Figure 6

Specialists are essential in the execution of an EIS implementation, but seldom are capable of addressing the myriad of details involved in a project. For instance, computer experts are usually so engrossed in their disciplines that they lack the broader view requisite to dealing with organisational problems. Operators and other direct users are similarly constrained within the frameworks of their jobs.

As shown in Figure 6, the introduction of new technology often results in hierarchical changes within an organisation.

As discussed above, the needs for expertise are often underestimated. Without the requisite expertise, progress can be frustratingly lethargic. Consequentially, maintaining and building staff expertise should be a top priority task. Personnel management for a transition to a new technology should include:

• identification of factors affecting personnel
• a plan for training, retraining and relocation
• concise job descriptions, including responsibilities
• employee involvement in planning
• clear definitions of positions and salaries
• a plan for job rotation
• delineation of the simplest possible organisational structure, including:
- management authority
- delegation of responsibility
- division of work
• clear communication to and from executives, between organisations and within individual organisations
• retain the organisation's advantages and strengthen:
- team work
- goalorientation and adaptability
- identification with the project
• suit staff proficiencies and size to the tasks involved
• create an environment of challenging work and career advancement

The most important organisational aspects may be summarised as follows:

• Executive involvement is crucial to success.
• Organisational problems are usually greater than technical problems.
• Organising or reorganising should hinder the monopolisation of information.
• The introduction of GIS affects changes in existing routines for information interchange between, and within, individual units of an organisation.
• Altered work routines necessitate organisational changes.
• At least a quarter of the personnel in an organisation can be expected to oppose change.
• Operator co-operation must be enlisted.
• The initial stages of implementing a GIS facility may be project oriented. The organisational alterations should be tested before being finally enacted.
• Longterm organisational changes may be made after the initial operational phase of a new EIS facility.


6. RESEARCH NEEDS


The discussion, recommendations and conclusions in Chapter 5 are based on earlier research work carried out in the Nordic countries, but should be proven and adjusted through research work specifically tailored to the actual situation in Africa. The scientists behind the KVANTIF projects (Ref. 3 and 4) have proposed a research project

This proposed research project can be summarised as follows:

Objectives:

• Develop methods and procedures for assessing how GIS&RS technologies might influence Environmental Management
• Develop methods for assessment of economic impacts due to the introduction of GIS&RS in Environmental Management
• Develop Methods for assessment of sustainability of GIS&RS technology transfer to Environmental Management bodies in LDC`s
• Recommend cost recovery and funding strategies
• Methods for cost optimisation in organising a national EIS
• Evaluation of selected EIS case studies in the Sub-Saharan programme including assessment of benefit/cost aspects and actions to improve economic impact

Research tasks:

• Identification of case studies and EM-bodies
• Review of status - capabilities and information needs
• Client survey
• Development of user/environment interaction matrices
• SEE- modelling
• Simulation of user's responses to changes in environment policy instrument variables
• Assessment of EM-bodie`s capabilities to translate improved information into economically viable and financial sustainable environmental management changes
• Reporting including recommendations on GIS&RS (EIS) technology transfer projects for improved resource management in developing countries

Expected benefits:

• Increased knowledge as to how EM-bodies in LDC`s can assimilate and utilise economically transfers of GIS and related technologies for the management of complex environmental/socio-economic systems
• Improved tools for Governments, donors, system suppliers for analyses, assessment and design of EIS for improved resource management and environment protection
• Improved efficiency in the Sub-Saharan programme

The costs of the proposed research project are estimated at 1 million USD. This estimate seems to be on the high side and can probably be adjusted dependent on the level of ambition. The proposed project period is 2 years.

It is recommended that the committee should initiate a research project along the above lines. Funding might come from research programmes in the EEC/Nordic Countries/US, the United Nations, The World Bank or bilateral development/aid agencies.

References


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