This special edition of the
Professor Żylicz is widely recognised as one of Poland's most distinguished economists. The focus of his scholarly work has been on the field of environmental economics, and while this classification seems natural today, it is worth noting that Professor Żylicz pioneered the development of this discipline in Poland and internationally at a time when environmental economics and ecological economics, as branches of neoclassical economics, were in their infancy.
Professor Żylicz's work gained international recognition in the early years of the post-Soviet transformation, which was almost unheard of for Polish economists at that time. The influence of his mathematical education can clearly be seen in his writings (a rigorous scientific apparatus), along with his familiarity with state-of-the-art scholarship, which was enhanced by his academic visits to the United States and Sweden. In his work, Professor Żylicz energetically espoused the latest themes in world literature, and his writings were perceived as an important voice from Central Europe. They signalled that this part of Europe was seeing the development of a strong academic centre that was devoted to researching the interface between economics and the environment, which would give the opportunity for the post-Soviet Bloc countries to manage their natural resources more rationally.
Professor Żylicz has also been practically involved in the relationship between economics and the natural environment. This includes his work as Director of the Economics Department at the Polish Ministry of Environment, and later as Advisor to the Minister. He has sat on (and in many cases chaired or vice-chaired) the scientific committees of numerous bodies, including the European Environmental Agency, the Polish Institute for Environmental Protection, the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, national parks and other important institutions. He was member and chair of the Polish Science Policy Committee and State Council for Environmental Protection. He was involved in creating and administering (including as chair) the Polish EcoFund, through which Polish foreign debt to Paris Club countries was converted into financing for environmental protection projects evaluated and approved by the Fund. He participated in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including as the main author of its reports on mitigating changes in the climate. He has edited
The wide-ranging academic and practical activities of Professor Żylicz – his pioneering scholarship and popularising work, the very broad spectrum of subjects he has addressed and methodologies used, his insistence on thorough theoretical foundations coupled with a strong emphasis on empirical and applied research, leading to practical implementation – have meant that he has had a profound impact on the study of economics. His legacy is visible in the work of the successive younger generations of Polish economists nurtured by him, including those whose professional lives are devoted to environmental economics and nature policy, resulting in notable success in their academic work and public activities both within Poland and around the world.
I am privileged to count myself among those for whom Professor Żylicz has been a formative influence. I first came into contact with the Professor when I applied for doctoral studies at the Faculty of Economic Studies in Warsaw. I found his love for the natural world contagious and I quickly became convinced that economics can make a great contribution to its protection and to the more beneficial management of its resources. More than anything else, however, the Professor opened the doors for me to the world of real scholarship. It was thanks to him that I was able to involve myself in research projects shoulder-to-shoulder with outstanding foreign scholars, attend challenging courses for doctoral students and receive grants for research abroad. Consequent to these opportunities, I discovered what academic work is really about, and how it is done by the best scholars, with whom I was able to build valuable relationships. Further, even after my doctorate, as my career has progressed, I have always been able to count on the Professor's counsel and support. I am deeply grateful to him for everything he has contributed to my life and work.
Professor Żylicz has been an authority, mentor, inspiration and example for many besides me. This issue of the
I hope that you will find the articles in this special edition of the