Governance for Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (GESPA)

Governance matters for the condition of natural resources and for who benefits. If the governance arrangements are ineffective and unfair, or produce unsustainable and unfair outcomes, then the potential for sustainable management and poverty alleviation is limited. Governance involves decision-making over who can extract products from renewable natural resources, what they can take, where and when. It has implications for ecosystem health, sustainability of ecosystem services and the potential for alleviation of poverty. Given the critical importance of such decision-making, the inclusion, participation and representation of resource users are key concerns.

The aims of this project were to synthesise the lessons and to draw out key findings from past and ongoing ESPA projects. These were situated within a review of wider literature on the governance of ecosystem services and their contribution to poverty alleviation.

The project therefore sought to answer two questions:

1. What was learned from ESPA research on the nature and performance of governance arrangements, systems and processes at multiple levels for ecosystem health and poverty alleviation?

2. How do different governance approaches, from the global to local, shape the distribution of power and resources and with what impacts on poverty, equality and ecosystems?

Key activities in the project were:

  • A review of ESPA-funded projects and outputs.
  • A rigorous systematic mapping of literature on natural resource/ecosystem governance and poverty alleviation.
  • Two workshops; the first to consult on progress and the second to share and test findings with policy-makers and practitioners in Ghana.
Authors: Nunan, F.; Menton, M.; McDermott, C.; Schreckenberg, K.; Huxham, M.
Year: 2018
Lead Principal Investigator
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: University of Oxford
Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: University of Southampton
Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: Edinburgh Napier University
Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: Nature Conservation Research Centre
Country: Ghana