Report on Policy Coherence for Development
Why coherence counts for development
Cadmium is extremely toxic to humans. Ingestion or prolonged exposure to this heavy metal can cause fever, chills and muscle aches, and in the most extreme cases, kidney failure. So when the European Commission in 2002 set the permissible level of cadmium in swordfish at 0.05 mg/kg, most people considered it a wise policy choice.
Except in the Seychelles, where swordfish was an important export product to the EU. Why, they asked, did the EU forbid the import in mid- 2003 of their swordfish while it permitted the import of crustaceans, oysters and beef liver that could contain up to 1.0 mg/kg of cadmium, or 20 times above the limit set for swordfish? This might have been passed off as an oversight, an error in calculation, until the fishermen went on to note that European vessels were allowed to catch swordfish in those same cadmium-laced waters. It took policymakers almost two years to revise the policy and set cadmium levels at a more reasonable level, thus allowing the Seychelles to resume exporting swordfish in early 2005.
While all this was being sorted out, however, fishers in Seychelles lost their export earnings and many vessels diversified their activities by targeting sharks for their fins. The intensive fishing of sharks during the ban heightened conservation and management concerns for this vulnerable group.
The White House View of the Economy
Not surprisingly, when people are worth more — because their stock portfolios or houses appreciate, for example — they tend to spend more. Here it appears that consumer spending has not taken nearly the same hit that household wealth has, though.