Safeguarding local equity as global values of ecosystem services rise

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment

Abstract

The overall aim of this project is to promote the contribution of ecosystem services to alleviating poverty worldwide. Internationally, many advocates and governments have proposed the establishment of systems of Payments for Environmental Services (PES), notably a system for compensating people for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). The assumption has been made that if those 'free' services that the environment provides (e.g., timber, a clean and steady water supply, sequestering carbon) are properly valued and paid for, the environment will be protected and poverty will be reduced. The fact that this assumption has not been validated and the connections between ecosystem services and poverty are poorly understood is a serious problem, especially given that billions of dollars per year are predicted to flow to developing countries once REDD programmes are fully implemented. Experience from other sectors raises concerns that these schemes may not benefit poor people uniformly and may even make the poorest worse off (e.g. by excluding them from land or traditional land uses), undermine existing benefit-sharing systems and increase disparities. Such changes in social equity are a key factor in determining whether rising values of ecosystem services have a positive or negative impact on poverty alleviation in affected communities. This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of collaborators from universities (Southampton, Oxford, Rutgers and the Australian National University), a policy think-tank (Overseas Development Institute), regional research and training centres (RECOFTC and CATIE) and a regional NGO (Ugandan Coalition for Sustainable Development) to develop a conceptual framework that analyses the links between ecosystem services and sustainable poverty reduction, examining in particular how benefits derived from ecosystem services are distributed among different stakeholders, the factors underlying these processes and their potential impacts. This framework will contribute to the critical challenge of the equitable management of ecosystems in a manner that benefits poor people. In particular, it will help decision-makers in REDD and PES programmes minimise negative impacts on equity and maximise positive impacts on poverty alleviation. In order to accomplish its objectives, the project will (i) develop a rigorous definition of the different dimensions and types of equity in the context of ecosystem services; (ii) develop a conceptual framework that describes how changes in the global value of ecosystem services lead to changes in equity at the local level, and the key factors that influence these outcomes, drawing on evidence from 6-8 specially commissioned background papers analysing existing knowledge on the equity impacts of high or rising value of ecosystem services (e.g., in forestry, mining and water); (iii) test the framework in three or four case studies (at least one each in Asia, Africa and Latin America); and (iv) review the conceptual framework in the light of the case study findings. Communication and dissemination will be ongoing activities throughout the project, beginning with the creation of a project website. Engagement with local, national and regional stakeholders will be assured through workshops, briefing papers and popular communication materials. The project will also produce a video, an innovative way of targeting policy-makers and project developers, together with an associated toolkit. The academic audience will be reached through journal articles and conference presentations. Electronic dissemination of policy briefs, targeted at an international audience, and eventual journal articles will be disseminated through the extensive networks facilitated by the project partners.
 
Description There is increasing concern about equity in international climate change and environmental debates. However, without a clear definition of equity, it is impossible to assess how equity is approached in existing or future policies and initiatives. This grant produced a framework which disaggregated 'equity' into multiple components, including the parameters of equity (the target and scale of equity, what the equity goals are and the process by which they are defined) and the content (distributive, procedural and contextual dimensions) of equity. The equity framework facilitates the establishment of a context-specific definition of equity which is essential to analyse how equity is being affected by a growing number of initiatives to recognise, maintain and value important ecosystem services, such as biodiversity and carbon sequestration. The framework provides useful input into the design of conservation strategies and policies. It can help policy makers and civil society to tease out exactly how, why, who and what should be and will be considered and pursued in 'equitable' governance of protected areas or initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from forest clearance (REDD+).
Exploitation Route The equity framework was taken forward in a small project funded by ESPA to operationalise it in the context of protected areas. A framework for assessing equity in the context of protected areas was produced and validated in a number of field sites. The work has been taken forward by Phil Franks at IIED with a small impact grant from the ESPA directorate plus support from GIZ. This has led to the equity framework being cited in the the CBD COP14/2 Draft Decisions as the major element in the Voluntary guidance on effective and equitable governance models (responding to Aichi target 11 of the Convention of Biological Diversity, which requires that protected areas should be equitably managed). Citation in the CBD decision should open the door for further funding by governments to develop methods for assessing equity in protected areas together with associated training for protected area staff.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

URL http://pubs.iied.org/17344IIED.html
 
Description One of the case studies in the project was of the 'Trees for Global Benefit' project in Uganda. Our recommendations to improve certain equity aspects were taken on board; specifically the length of contracts between farmers and carbon credit buyers was reduced from 50 years to 25. The framework for understanding equity developed in this project (see McDermott, Schreckenberg and Mahanty 2013) was used as the basis for a training manual and a handbook for grassroots facilitators produced by the project partner, RECOFTF, in 2014. The McDermott et al (2013) paper and a paper by Schreckenberg et al (2016) produced as the result of a follow-on project were both cited in the CBD COP14/2 Draft Decisions, in an annex providing governments with voluntary guidance on effective and equitable governance models (p140).
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Citation in 'Draft decisions for the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity' (CBD/COP/14/2), Annex on Voluntary guidelines on effective and equitable governance models (p140)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.cbd.int/doc/c/7edd/2d7b/616164023a4335a7c0cd3b18/cop-14-02-en.pdf
 
Description Citation in handbook for grassroots facilitators
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://www.recoftc.org/project/green-mekong/training-manuals-and-guides/equity-climate-change-and-re...
 
Description Citation in training manual for grassroots facilitators
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://www.recoftc.org/training-manuals-and-guides/improving-grassroots-equity-forests-and-climate-c...
 
Description Kate Schreckenberg was invited to be on an expert group established by the German investment bank KfW to evaluate tools to monitor outcomes of KfW's investment (of over 1.2billion euros) in about 400 protected areas in more than 40 countries. (March - June 2016)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Policy brief on Forests, climate change and equity in Lao PDR
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.recoftc.org/policy-briefs/policy-brief-forests-climate-change-and-equity-lao-pdr-redd-equ...
 
Description Policy brief on Forests, climate change, and equity in Viet Nam
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.recoftc.org/policy-briefs/policy-brief-forests-climate-change-and-equity-viet-nam-redd-eq...
 
Description Policy brief on forests, climate change and equity in Cambodia
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.recoftc.org/policy-briefs/policy-brief-forests-climate-change-and-equity-cambodia-redd-eq...
 
Description Advancing equity in Protected Area conservation: from theory to practice
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IAF2017-18-004 
Organisation Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description Developing a framework and tools for enhancing equity and justice in protected area management
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ESPA/ROF/2015-16/02 
Organisation Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2017
 
Description A framework for defining equity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to Barry Gardiner, Dan Rogerson and Thomas Docherty (members of the UK House of Commons Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) during their visit to Earth University, Costa Rica. 8th Feb 2012
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Assessing equity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to Stewart Jackson MP, Baroness Hooper CMG, Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE, Frank Roy MP, Ronald Campbell MP and John Mann MP (members of the UK Parliament) during their visit to Earth University, Costa Rica. 10th Feb 2013.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Defining Equity: Case studies of forest and carbon certification 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests Members' Day, Oxford, UK. 2nd March 2012
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Equity in forest-based carbon markets 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Environmental Sciences Seminar, University of Southampton, UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Examining Equity: a multidimensional framework for assessing equity in payments for ecosystem services 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University, USA. September 2012
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Examining Equity: a multidimensional framework for assessing equity in the context of payments for ecosystem services 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar for the Global Environmental Justice group, UEA, Norwich, UK. 26th January 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Marketing ecosystem services: what impacts on equity? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, University of Southampton, UK. 1st March 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Marketing ecosystem services: what impacts on equity? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to 'Sustainability Science at Southampton' public session for World Development Information Day, University of Southampton, 24 Oct 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.southampton.ac.uk/assets/centresresearch/documents/sustainability_science/05.%20Kate%20Sc...
 
Description Marketing ecosystem services: what impacts on equity? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to visitors from the Wellcome Trust, University of Southampton, 23 April 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Save global climate, trample local equity? Defining equity in Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Schemes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to the Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University, USA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description The Equity Framework & its application to timber, carbon and fair trade certification 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to IMAFLORA, Piracicaba, Brazil, 24 August, 2012.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012