Sustainability Science Program

Margherita Vitale

Margherita Vitale

Margherita VitaleMs. Margherita Vitale
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 504 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-495-1417
Email: margherita_vitale@hks.harvard.edu
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow

Margherita Vitale is a Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program. She is an advisor at the Italian Ministry for the Environment working in the Italian Environmental Footprint Program that is partnering with 250 private companies. Her research focuses on applying the analytical framework of the Inclusive Wealth Report (UNU-IHDP and UNEP, 2012) in Sicily, Italy, with the goal of improving its trajectory toward sustainable development. This southern region has historically suffered from a slower economic development compared to the central northern ones, with high unemployment rates and a public debt rising steadily. The research will provide evidence to understand the effectiveness of the IWR framework in capturing the fundamentals of well-being at local level, as well as highlighting its implementation difficulties and obstacles. Margherita has collaborated with the Italian Ministry for the Environment for the last 15 years, working as an Italian delegate in many negotiations for sustainable development (UNFCCC, UNCCD, G8, G20, ASEM, GBEP, OECD, WSSD) and coordinating bilateral and multilateral environmental cooperation projects in China, Iraq, Brazil and the Caribbean region. Margherita was Program Manager in UNDP Cuba for a regional initiative to build capacity in climate change adaptation and Corporate and Social Responsibility expert in a two years project to strengthen the good practice governance of the public service companies in Perù, Ecuador and Bolivia financed by the Corporaciòn Andina de Fomento. Margherita holds a bachelor degree in political science from the University La Sapienza in Rome and a Master in Environmental Governance from University of La Tuscia. Her faculty host is William Clark.

Analysis of inclusive wealth in Sicily
This project explores the fundamentals of well-being of a specific local context by asking what Sicilian development would look like if analyzed in terms of capital assets.

The research tests the analytical framework included in the Inclusive Wealth Report (UNU-IHDP and UNEP, 2012) in Sicily, Italy, with the goal of improving Sicily’s trajectory toward sustainable development. Sicily is a region in southern Italy with 5 million inhabitants and an economy based on high quality agricultural products. The region has historically suffered from slower economic development compared to others Italian regions, with high unemployment rates and a steadily rising public debt.  In spite of financial aid received from the central government and the European Union, the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) is still 1 point behind the GDP of the central-northern Italian regions. The research explores what Sicilian development would look like if analyzed in terms of capital assets as described in the Inclusive Wealth Report and how the analytical framework can help in improving policy planning toward a sustainable development. The research will help in advancing the understanding of the IWR methodological framework at the local level by providing evidence to understand its effectiveness in capturing the fundamentals of well being, its implementation difficulties and obstacles. Exploring this analytical framework at the local level is important to assess its effectiveness as an alternative tool to GDP to measure development, to assess to which extent this development is sustainable, and to better guide economic, environmental and social planning toward human well-being.

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