From the Amazon to the Yangtze, ESPA is a catalyst for change

A new independent report has been published which outlines the true outcomes and impact of some key ESPA projects

Evaluation company Jigsaw has analysed and reported on the outcomes and impact of five key ESPA projects, verifying that its research played "a key role in catalysing change".

The projects were:

ASSETS

Negotiating Trade Offs

Poverty & Ecology

Justice & Ecosystem Management

Safeguarding Local Equity

The consultancy assessed the output of each piece of research at three distinct levels – policy, practice and use – and looked at how the work influenced government decision makers, ecosystem management bodies and the local people that rely on nature for their livelihoods and health.

Jigsaw concluded that although researchers faced many challenges when it came to attributing impact to their work, this should in no way “undermine the clear contributions they have made, from shaping dialogue at the highest levels of ES policy through to directly enhancing the livelihoods and wellbeing of marginalised communities”.

The report highlighted the fact Professor John Dearing’s ‘Poverty & Ecology’ project was instrumental in informing global conversations about climate change and sustainable development, most notably around safer operating spaces and tipping points.

The ‘ASSETS’ project was applauded for placing influential decision makers on its Malawian advisory board from the outset, leading to direct policy inputs through the ministries in charge of education, agriculture and nutrition.

Both the ‘Justice & Ecosystem Management’ and ‘Safeguarding Local Equity’ projects were cited as examples where ESPA funded research has directly influenced NGOs and others involved in the frontline of managing protected areas.

And in terms of community engagement, the report highlighted the fact the ‘ASSETS’ team worked closely with indigenous communities in the Amazon, and those involved in ‘Negotiating Trade Offs’ in the Himalayas worked with locals to help them negotiate fair and equitable access to water.

The Jigsaw assessment conclude that ESPA has played “a key role in catalysing change” when it comes to managing ecosystems for the benefit of poorer communities.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.