Leader Profile: Richard Damania, Senior Environmental Economist, World Bank

The World Bank is a leading development institution providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries worldwide. It recently funded the Environment Management Project in Maldives, which aims to protect coral reefs and marine habitats from the hazards posed by development, increased solid waste disposal, and global climate change.

World Bank Senior Environmental Economist Richard Damania is the project’s task team leader. “I am … thus responsible for all aspects of project preparation and supervision,” he said. His responsibilities include identifying the client nation’s priorities, defining the focus and sub-components of the project, and outlining how it will be executed.

Damania assumes the role of climate change coordinator for South Asia as part of his duties as Senior Environmental Economist. He also handles projects and performs analysis for the agency’s other initiatives.

According to Damania, the pace of project preparation and implementation can be slow, and as such he considers the completion of a task very gratifying. “A good project with observable and good outcomes is the highest reward,” he shared.

Prior to joining the bank, Damania was an Economics Professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He was a prolific economics and science writer. “I have published about 100 papers in economics (mainly environmental and resource economics) and a few in conservation biology, which started as a hobby and grew into a serious research endeavor.

“I decided to join the bank since publishing [papers] over my life would not really have made much impact in terms of changing things. Joining the Bank gives you an opportunity to put ideas into practice and a more direct role.”

He said he intends “to stay at the bank for a few years and hope to play a large role in the sustainable development agenda.”

Damania holds an MA and a PhD in Economics with a specialization on economic modeling.

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