Ecosystem Services as a Missing Dimension of Poverty

Lead PI
Professor Neil Burgess
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre - WCMC
Start Date
1 December, 2014
End Date
31 October, 2017
Project Code


This project will examine the role of ecosystem services in the conceptual understanding of poverty, by analysing the extent to which ecosystem services can be seen as a missing dimension of the way in which multidimensional poverty is defined. In order to do so, it will undertake a review of the ways in which wellbeing and poverty are understood, and the extent to which elements of the natural environment contribute to improving wellbeing and reducing poverty. 

The partners involved bring a unique set of resources and skills into productive conversation with each other, connecting knowledge communities that tend not to be well integrated with each other. UNEP WCMC is the leading repository of global environmental data, but has tended not to have an explicit mandate to understand the poverty implications of these data; OPHI is at the cutting-edge of work that seeks to define and measure poverty, but has tended to pay relatively limited attention to the role of the environment in its definition of multidimensional poverty. The University of Cambridge provides a unique bridge across these communities, as well as to the wider portfolio of existing ESPA research. 


Name Role Organisation Country
Professor Neil Burgess Global
Professor Neil Burgess Lead Principal Investigator World Conservation Monitoring Ctre -WCMC United Kingdom
Dr Sabina Alkire Co Investigator University of Oxford United Kingdom
Dr Bhaskar Vira Co Investigator University of Cambridge United Kingdom
Dr Fiona Susan Danks Researcher Co Investigator World Conservation Monitoring Ctr WCMC United Kingdom
Dr Christopher Sandbrook Researcher Co Investigator World Conservation Monitoring Ctre -WCMC United Kingdom
Dr Marije Schaafsma Researcher Co Investigator University of Southampton United Kingdom