Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Human Geography, Sarah Lawrence College

Joshua Muldavin, PhD, University of California-Berkeley. Professor of Geography and Asian Studies, Sarah Lawrence College. I am currently on sabbatical working on a book manuscript — ‘China’s Rise and Global Integration: The Environmental and Social Impacts’. Current research is on global resource acquisitions and development conflicts via China’s and Japan’s capital and aid flows to Africa, Latin America, and South/Southeast Asia. Thirty years of field research, primarily in rural China as well as the greater Himalayan Region.

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Professor, Geography, Sarah Lawrence College
Conservation, Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation in China: The Role of Japanese Environmental ODA in China’s Development

Little academic work has been completed documenting and analyzing the patterns of aid to China since the "open door" policy began in 1978. This project will be a detailed analysis of Japanese ODA programs in China, focused on assessing the efficacy of environmental projects in particular. While the first objective of this project is to survey the patterns of Japanese environmental ODA to China (types of aid, donor motives and spatial and sectoral allocation), the data collected will be used in meeting the second objective-to assess the impact of this aid through an evaluation of key projects, particularly as this relates to environmental concerns. This will enable an assessment of the role of international aid (in this case Japan' s ODA) in national development, as well as policy formation and implementation. Furthermore, by assessing key projects, this research will provide an independent assessment, with policy recommendations, to feed back into the contemporary discussion in Japan on the relative success of Japanese ODA .in achieving stated goals. Thus, this research project makes advances within and between the fields of policy analysis, human geography (economic, political, environmental), and international relations. Research methods to be used in this project have been tested and contributed to the work completed thus far (Muldavin 2000a, 2000b). This includes extensive field research the PI has conducted over the past twenty-three years, and sustained formal contacts with in-country personnel and policy makers in government ministries in both China and Japan. The goal here is to intensify this research through a two-year project that provides both evaluation of projects, and projection of their potential long-term consequences, particularly projects selected for their environmental significance. One benefit of this research for the fields of geography, policy studies, and development studies, will be in its contribution to a better understanding of the role of foreign investment (aid and capital) in regional change of large developing countries in general, and China in particular. For policy makers the data collected will represent the first independent assessment of the effectiveness of Japanese environmental development aid in China (and specific projects), a contribution that can potentially change the way in which foreign aid policy is elaborated by the Japanese government through its own programs, as well as through the multilateral agencies to which it is a major contributor. The PI will carry out extensive fieldwork on completed and existing projects in China, as well as detailed interviews and analytical discussions with ODA-related ministries and institutions in Japan and China. The collection, compilation, and quantitative analysis of data from the field will require significant commitment of time, and it is expected that the PI' s time will be split between Japan and China equally. The final objective is the creation of a detailed database, developed from this intensive two-year project, which will be used to disseminate the findings through publication of a series of journal articles, the core of an edited conference volume, and working papers for use by aid researchers, donor agencies and recipient-country experts.