Eco-system services and multi-dimensional poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Co-producing demand-led evidence syntheses to inform policy-making

This project supported the use of eco-system services evidence to inform policy-making that is more relevant to the realities and multitudes of people living in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and their complex use of eco-system services. By generating practical tools, supporting capacity, and increasing research demand and awareness, the research aimed to influence the behaviour of decision-makers in order to support pro-poor eco-system services policy-making in Sub-Saharan Africa. It used evidence synthesis, evidence mapping and systematic review methodologies to provide answers for policy and practice across the region.

The first step set out in the research was to understand the nature and extent of the evidence-base generated by the ESPA programme in relation to eco-system services in Low and Middle Income Countries, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. We undertook a comprehensive search for research evidence from the region to produce a systematic evidence map. This is the basis for a user-friendly evidence interface, which enables an active dialogue between decision-makers in government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and researchers. This evidence interface is tailored to inform decision-making in a policy context and allow policy-makers to critically interrogate the gaps and policy-relevance of the existing research evidence.

We launched the evidence interface at a high-level meeting of senior African environmental policy-makers, the International Biodiversity Research and Evidence Indaba. As a result of this stakeholder engagement four demand-driven syntheses, called Rapid Evidence Assessments (REAs) were agreed, which were produced during the remainder of the project. These four pieces of more focused work synthesise evidence to answer four specific questions in the region as prioritized by our government partners. These were preliminarily scoped with government colleagues, and after consultation with stakeholders, were refined to the following Rapid Evidence Assessments:


For more information on this project and its outputs, visit the project website

Lead Principal Investigator
Organisation: University of Johannesburg
Country: South Africa