ESPA's Innovation for Impact

26 May, 2014
By Paul van Gardingen, ESPA Director

Over the last month I have had a number of opportunities to reflect on the way that ESPA is delivering impact, helping to improve the lives of poor people in low-income countries.  For those of you who attended the first ESPA meeting in October 2010, you may remember that, at that time, I laid out a vision for ESPA: that it would not just do innovative science but thatit would be truly innovative in the way that it does science.  Now, in 2014, halfway through the programme, I see growing evidence of the value delivered by that innovation and a growing interest in the way in which the ESPA programme works, and the contribution made by the ESPA Directorate.

In May, I was invited by the International Council for Science (ICSU) to South Africa to attend a meeting which brought together the research and development communities to consider how international research could help to address the changes for Africa linked to Global Environmental Change, and  potentially feeding into...

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What do we know about how biodiversity and poverty are linked? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

19 March, 2014
By Dilys Roe

There is an explicit assumption in international policy statements that conserving biodiversity can help in efforts to tackle global poverty. For example Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity agreed in 2001 “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss …. as a contribution to poverty alleviation …”[i] , and this is mirrored by the inclusion of biodiversity indicators as one element of measuring progress against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Indeed, a high level meeting at the September 2010 UN General Assembly further stressed the link, claiming:  “…preserving biodiversity is inseparable from the fight against poverty”[ii] .

This relationship is not, however, a self-evident truth. As international policy makers discuss a new development framework for the next decade and a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) it is important to explore what evidence underlies these claims, and where there are gaps in the evidence that need filling in order to maximise synergies between conservation...

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