In Memoriam: Wally Tyner

Professor Wallace “Wally” E. Tyner, dear friend, a great man, and a deeply respected contributor to UNU-WIDER, passed away on 17 August 2019 after a brief illness. Wally Tyner was a world-class expert in the area of climate, energy, agricultural, and natural resource policy analysis. We were honoured when he agreed in 2011 to lead the UNU-WIDER project the Assessment of climate change on economic development opportunities in North Africa: the cases of Morocco and Tunisia. Wally did an excellent job and became an important and valued member of the UNU-WIDER network.

Wally Tyner, a James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, had a long and distinguished career with more than 40 years at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He was Chair of Department for 13 years and highly respected worldwide for his exemplary work at the difficult nexus of policy, research, and practice, with their rather different logics, expectations, and imperatives. Wally showed how to handle, in a most effective manner, this difficult but critical challenge for the development profession.

Those who worked with Wally remember him as hard working, patient, generous, and kind. He spent two years in India as a Peace Corps Volunteer and three years in Morocco working as a senior agricultural economist and deputy team leader for a project incorporating agricultural planning, economics, and statistics. Wally was also responsible for building agricultural policy analysis capability in the Morocco Ministry of Agriculture and had short-term experience in Senegal, Mali, Niger, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Wally believed strongly that economic research should be relevant to current real-world problems. The research effort he led at UNU-WIDER measured the impact of climate change both directly on agriculture and through its linkages with other sectors. It also examined the impacts of alternative mitigation policies by integrating two modelling frameworks: the GTAP model and the IMPACT-WATER model. While the focus was on Morocco and Tunis, the project’s aim was not only to carry out a country-based analysis, but also to create analytical tools for application elsewhere.

In the face of a world characterized by tremendous competition over scarce resources, Wally wrote that sustaining development has never been as complicated a task as it is today. He added that climate change and its impact on water resources and agriculture is one of the major problems facing developing countries in Africa. Wally’s wise words will continue to remind us of the world’s climate challenges.

As a researcher, a practitioner, a teacher, and a friend, Wally will be dearly missed.