The methodology will encompass both secondary (macro-level) and primary (micro-level) data collation/collection and analysis to enable a robust, contextualised and in-depth understanding of the effectiveness and viability of the Green Economy and Living Well approaches. Data will be derived from:
- SDG and EJI relevant longitudinal statistical data from a range of sources to provide macro context;
- Repeated interviews with 50 stakeholders (i.e. policy-beneficiaries, policy-makers, policy-implementers) to assess needs, vision, objectives, processes, perceived impacts and barriers to achieving impact;
- Participatory observations in four communities to capture the perceptions, processes and impacts of the programmes being implemented under the banner of Green Economy/Living Well.
The secondary (macro-level) component will analyse the extent to which introduction of the policies associated with these paradigms coincides with changes in the relevant SDG and EJI indicators over the period between 2000 (prior to the commencement of these policy initiatives) and 2016 (the most recent data likely to be available by the final year of the research project). These indicators will be tracked for Bolivia, following the Vivir Bien/Living Well approach, and South Korea, pursuing the Green Economy pathway, and compared with all countries with available data. A range of reputable, longitudinal international and comparative surveys will be utilised, some of which will be accessed through the UK Data Service, (e.g. World Bank World Development Indicators; International Energy Agency World Energy Statistics; OECD International Development Statistics) as well as UNDP Human Development Reports, the ILO Statistics Database, WHO SIS, FAO statistics, Aquastat, World Values Survey and YCELP Environmental Performance Index. National datasets, where available, will be used to investigate specific equity issues comparing, for instance, the environmental burdens of low income areas in comparison to their wealthier counterparts.
The factors to be tracked will primarily relate to morbidity and mortality, emissions, energy consumption, inequality, poverty, access to environmental resources, green investment, quality of living environment, waste production, labour rights, employment levels, political empowerment, subjective well-being and social protection. The indicators will include, for example, Gini Coefficient (WB/OECD), Palma Ratio (Palma, 2011; WB), energy supply and consumption in original units (metric tons, terajoules and gigawatt hours) for various types of coal, oil, gas, renewables and waste (IEA); GNI per capita (PPP, current US$ Atlas method) (WB); Household Dietary Diversity Score (FAO); proportion of rural population with improved sanitation services (WHO); PM 2.5 exposure and exceedance (EPI); and incidence of mental health disorders (WHO). Time Series Analysis will be the main technique used for analysis as it will effectively condense the data, identify trends and help to build an explanatory model.
The primary research will focus on perceptions and micro impacts (if any) of these paradigms for two communities (one rural, one urban) in each country (i.e. Bolivia and South Korea). Participatory observation and interviews using participant generated artefacts (including photos and drawings) will be carried out to assess these perspectives and impacts. The participatory observation component will entail living in the communities of interest and attending relevant meetings and events. The interview component will require recruiting fifty interviewees via local community groups and organisations undertaking or receiving Green Economy and Vivir Bien programmes. Data will be collected from each of the four communities twice, with a one year gap between phases, to help to ascertain changes over time. The interviewees will be policy-makers, policy-implementers and policy-beneficiaries, i.e. programme directors, front-line staff and community leaders. Each will be interviewed twice to see how their ideas and opinions change over time.
The interviews will be captured using video, where appropriate and agreed. The participants will be asked to bring objects, photos and drawings to the interviews that symbolically represent what Living Well/Green Economy is for them and what they consider the positive and negative consequences of these policies could be and have been for themselves and their community. Using artefacts in interviews can help the participant to think in a more deeply reflective and creative way, add focus to the conversation, break down power inequalities in the interaction (as the participant chooses the artefacts), capture non-verbal components of communication, aid cross-cultural communication, provide more complete explanations, enhance engagement and rapport, and make the interviews more amenable to dissemination via visual media which can reach more diverse audiences (Banks, 2007; Prosser and Loxley, 2008; Margolis and Pauwels, 2011; Pink, 2012). This will be an innovative application of this cutting-edge research method. Participant observation and interviews are appropriate methods to address the research questions since they enable learning from real-life contexts, whilst fully using the expertise and resources of those involved.
The analysis will take into account the contextual differences between Bolivia and South Korea which constitute potential confounding factors, including income levels, population sizes, cultures and histories. The countries’ achievements will be considered in the context of their relative performance in relation to similar countries (as will be evident from the secondary analysis of quantitative time series records covering all countries with available data). This will enable some attribution of change to the Green Economy or Living Well paradigm.