International Institute for Environment and Development
Recent publications
There are strong links between heritage and the environment yet, heritage is not fully included in existing ecosystem‐based frameworks. Different understandings of heritage values exist, and heritage values are not yet related to key value categories in environmental values research. To address this gap and facilitate a common values‐based approach, we develop a novel framework that links heritage and environmental values. First, we expand the understanding of heritage values by linking heritage to key environmental value categories. We then use the Life Framework of Values to show how heritage features in the different ways in which people relate to the world. The resulting heritage values framework is operationalised by applying it to six case examples drawn from participatory research on the governance of European coastal and maritime heritage. We found that the environment was not only considered to be a setting for heritage but was itself valued as heritage in different ways; that heritage is not extrinsic to the environment but is also a way in which people see meaning in the environment; and that multiple value frames and types were involved in shaping this perspective. The results highlight important discrepancies between stakeholders' perspectives and existing management approaches. Applying the framework shows the ways in which heritage and nature are entwined by providing a structure for elucidating what can be valued as heritage, what values can inform heritage values and how heritage values feature in human–nature relations. Malgré les liens très étroits qui existent entre l’Environnement et le Patrimoine, ce dernier n'est pas pleinement pris en compte dans les cadres de l’analyse écosystémique. Pour le moment, aucun lien n’est établi entre les différentes conceptions existantes de la valeur patrimoniale et les principales catégories retenues par la recherche portant sur les valeurs environnementales. Pour combler cette lacune et faciliter l'adoption d'une approche commune fondée sur les valeurs, nous avons élaboré un nouveau cadre d’analyse alliant valeurs patrimoniales et valeurs environnementales. Pour cela, nous avons enrichi la compréhension des valeurs patrimoniales en reliant le patrimoine aux principales catégories de valeurs environnementales. Puis nous avons utilisé le cadre d’analyse « Life Framework of Values » afin de montrer comment le patrimoine s'inscrit dans le rapport des individus au monde. Le cadre des valeurs patrimoniales qui en résulte a été opérationnalisé en l’appliquant à six exemples issus d’une recherche participative portant sur la gouvernance du patrimoine côtier et maritime européen. Trois principaux éléments peuvent être soulignés: (i) que l'environnement n'est pas uniquement considéré comme un cadre / écrin pour le patrimoine, mais qu'il est lui‐même valorisé en tant que patrimoine; (ii) que le patrimoine n'est pas extrinsèque à l'environnement, mais qu'il est une composante de la manière dont les individus perçoivent l’environnement et lui donnent sens; (iii) et que de multiples modèles et types de valeurs sont impliqués dans la définition de cette approche. Les résultats mettent en évidence des divergences importantes entre les points de vue des parties prenantes et les approches de gestion existantes. L'application de ce cadre d’analyse montre la manière dont le patrimoine et la nature sont liés. Il fournit une structure permettant de déterminer ce qui peut être valorisé en tant que patrimoine; les valeurs pouvant alimenter les valeurs patrimoniales; et de quelles manières les valeurs patrimoniales s’expriment dans les relations homme‐nature. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have been advocated for their potential to contribute to the making of sustainable and just cities. However, a growing body of research shows that NBS cannot inherently provide just outcomes and might instead (re)produce environmental injustices. This research explores NBS for stream/river restoration in 'informal' areas, showing how riparian margins have become spaces of conflict. It draws lessons from two linear parks integrated into neighbourhood regeneration strategies in São Paulo. Data were collected from household surveys and focus group discussions to examine local populations' values towards stream restoration. They provide understandings of residents' perceptions towards multiple health and safety risks and concerns over contested responsibilities, notably revealing that local preferences for stream burial have been shaped by persisting waste dumping issues. An environmental justice lens helps highlight the limited integration of plural social and cultural values into project plans. This further helps draw lessons on ways to address local conflicts and integrate multiple socio-environmental values into NBS planning, with support from policy tools that allow stronger community engagement. Findings also support the identification of justice pathways for NBS in informal settings. The analysis of material and interpretative human-environment relationships provides evidence of opportunities for NBS to be integrated into everyday uses of local space and pre-existing environmental caring practices. For this, communities need to have stronger influence over decisions affecting them. The research thereby demonstrates that NBS will only become a mechanism for ecological recovery with city-wide benefits if marginalised groups are better included in their planning.
This paper examines how smallholder farmers are differentially affected by agricultural expansion in their communities and landscapes. Contributing to the debate on intensification versus expansion, and implications for sustainability, we employ mixed methods research with smallholders in four communities in Ghana and Ethiopia to explore the impact of agricultural expansion among different social groups (men, women, the young, older, the poor and rich community members) across different timescales. Surveys were conducted with 200 households per community on livelihoods, land management practices and involvement in agricultural expansion. Focus group discussions were conducted with different categories of farming households to support the initial surveys. Results indicate that agricultural expansion may have both negative and positive effects on livelihood outcomes depending on timescale, participation in expansion, choices of other households, and individual roles in the household. Short-term wins are likely to result in losses in the long-term due to changing conditions. Households that have not expanded may lose benefits such as food and income from nature, due to the externalities resulting from the activities of expanders.
The Paris Agreement recognizes the important role that local level actors play in ensuring climate change adaptation that contributes to meeting the global temperature goal. As a financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the largest dedicated climate fund, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is critical to achieving this goal. How GCF allocates its resources is therefore a critical area of research. This article assesses GCF’s commitment to the local delivery of adaptation finance and identifies the key barriers to GCF’s achievement of this commitment. The analysis finds that although GCF’s policies and communications fully commit to funding local level adaptation, three key barriers still prevent it from delivering finance to the local level. First, GCF lacks a unified framework for identifying and defining the local level, local actors, and local adaptation processes. Second, GCF exhibits limited transparency and accountability in relation to how approved funding for adaptation is spent, particularly for projects that claim to generate local level adaptation outcomes. Third, some Accredited Entities have limited experience and capacity for designing and implementing projects that deliver finance to the local level. This is because the local delivery of finance is not prioritized by GCF during the accreditation of entities or provision of readiness support to Accredited Entities. Our findings indicate limited evidence of GCF’s full operationalization of its commitment to supporting local adaptation. We recommend that GCF develop and apply a unified framework for defining what constitutes ‘local’. Key policy insights: GCF is committed to supporting local adaptation finance in developing countries but has failed to adequately operationalize this commitment. To increase local delivery of climate finance, GCF should develop a unified framework for local delivery of adapation finance that emphasises local actors' leadership in design, implementation, and management of adaptation projects. GCF should also increase transparency and accountability of funded projects to enable independent assessments of local delivery of adaptation finance by making project information, including financial reports publicly available. GCF should ensure that Accredited Entities have capacity to develop and deliver projects that deliver adaptation finance to the local level e.g. by requiring entities to provide evidence of support for local adaptation during accreditation.
Averting human‐induced extinctions will require strong policy commitments that comprehensively address threats to species. A new Global Biodiversity Framework is currently being negotiated by the world’s governments through the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here we explored how the suggested targets in this framework could contribute to reducing threats to threatened vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants, and assessed the importance of a proposed target to implement recovery actions for threatened species. Although many of the targets benefit species, we found that extinction risk for over half (57%) of threatened species would not be reduced sufficiently without a target promoting recovery actions, including ex situ conservation, reintroductions, and other species‐specific interventions. A median of 54 threatened species per country require such actions, and most countries of the world hold such species. Preventing future human‐induced extinctions requires policy commitments to implement targeted recovery actions for threatened species in addition to broader efforts to mitigate threats, underpinned by transformative change.
This paper analyzes the concept of Green Infrastructure (GI) in urban context, challenging the extent to which it can support a transition towards more socially inclusive forms of urban governance. It builds on the argument that the false promise of “win-wins” in the conceptualization of urban greening participates in the creation of blind spots in practice. Using the case of São Paulo, we bring attention to techno-managerial patterns within top-down governance structures. A political ecology lens helps to analyze power relations at play in the context of a linear park project implemented in an informal settlement. It reveals how current urban governance structures create barriers to the practice of GI, notably because projects often remain incomplete, but also because participatory processes often remain limited. The practice of GI normalized as a technical-rational endeavor leaves limited space for “non-expert” knowledge. Complex settings where intertwined socio-environmental issues cause conflicts over space demand equally complex efforts that go beyond infrastructural “fixes”. To support the institutionalization of GI, a fuller and grounded “translation” process of the concept needs to be supported by forms of urban expertise centered on communities’ needs and local dynamics. We argue that only then will GI support the democratization of urban planning.
Coastal and Maritime Cultural Heritage (CMCH) is an important asset in coastal areas. However, this heritage has been exposed to several environmental and human-created threats. This paper presents three European coastal regions with relevant CMCH and important tourism destinations: Ria de Aveiro (Portugal), the Small Isles (Scotland, UK) and Marsaxlokk (Malta). The paper draws attention to the challenges to CMCH they face, the dynamics between tourism and CMCH and provides recommendations for sustainable tourism exploitation of CMCH. A comparative case-study approach was undertaken, based on 41 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. Findings unveil that, despite the different demographics, socioeconomics and importance of tourism in each location, CMCH is seen as an important element to consider as tourism destination. Stakeholders identified economic, sociocultural and environmental dynamics between tourism and CMCH with positive and negative impacts on the regions. This study provides guidelines and recommendations that can be used as a reference to define a joint policy response for sustainable exploitation of CMCH in a tourism context.
Coastal and marine cultural heritage (CMCH) is at risk due to its location and its often indefinable value. As these risks are likely to intensify in the future, there is an urgent need to build CMCH resilience. We argue that the current CMCH risk management paradigm narrowly focuses on the present and preservation. This tends to exclude debates about the contested nature of resilience and how it may be achieved beyond a strict preservationist approach. There is a need, therefore, to progress a broader and more dynamic framing of CMCH management that recognises the shift away from strict preservationist approaches and incorporates the complexity of heritage’s socio-political contexts. Drawing on critical cultural heritage literature, we reconceptualise CMCH management by rethinking the temporality of cultural heritage. We argue that cultural heritage may exist in four socio-temporal manifestations (extant, lost, dormant, and potential) and that CMCH management consists of three broad socio-political steering processes (continuity, discontinuity, and transformation). Our reconceptualisation of CMCH management is a first step in countering the presentness trap in CMCH management. It provides a useful conceptual framing through which to understand processes beyond the preservationist approach and raises questions about the contingent and contested nature of CMCH, ethical questions around loss and transformation, and the democratisation of cultural heritage management.
Projects providing alternative foods to wild meat in rural areas are commonplace across West and Central Africa to try and curb unsustainable hunting, regarded as a major concern for conservation and local food security. However, there lacks locally specific research on the preferences and drivers of wild meat consumption in rural areas-essential information for guiding such interventions. We carry out semi-structured interviews with 542 people in four rural villages around the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, to understand the importance of wild meat, explore people's food choices, identify the drivers of wild meat consumption, and explore variation in the drivers and barriers to eating wild meat and its alternatives. We found that wild meat is preferred to meat from domestic livestock or wild caught fish. Many of the most commonly preferred wild meat species (porcupine and blue duiker) are relatively abundant , with the exception of pangolin which is globally endangered but which people reportedly prefer because of its good taste. Good taste, perceived health benefits, and easy accessibility are the key drivers of consumption, while taboos, an off-putting appearance, and health concerns play a strong role in species avoidance, particularly for great apes and large ungulates. Village-level differences in the drivers of consumption were observed, possibly influenced by their proximity to the reserve, to markets, participation in alternatives projects , and to law enforcement. That people in rural Cameroon care about health and taste in their choices, rather than simply availability or cost, challenges the assumptions that underpin many alternative meat projects. Our findings provide an understanding of consumer drivers to help to guide wild meat alternative interventions in rural areas. We urge wild meat alternatives designers to account for the heterogeneity of preferences and drivers within communities, to help ensure that projects reach both their conservation and social objectives.
The protection, restoration, management, and sustainable use of natural and modified ecosystems to address climate change mitigation have received much global attention in recent years. Those types of actions are, however, often not designed to also address other global challenges, and so they miss an opportunity to provide important non-mitigation benefits and compromise their mitigation potential. Here, we highlight the importance of planning Nature-based Solutions for mitigation while considering the suite of global challenges that societies face, and we propose a set of considerations to ensure that those types of solutions also provide climate adaptation, biodiversity, and/or human well-being benefits. Planning Nature-based Solutions for climate mitigation that can also address other global challenges is very timely because every nature-based effort should grasp the opportunity to address a variety of pressing issues in order to allow for the continued delivery of mitigation and other benefits in this critical decade.
Blended finance aims to unlock additional private finance for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), however, it has not yet reached the anticipated scale to deliver on SDG 15: Life on Land. So far, blended finance approaches have not been fully adapted to the context where conservation activities take place, for example on communal lands—a common tenure arrangement for conservation in southern Africa. This study identifies opportunities, barriers, and risks to up-scaling private finance for nature in the context of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in southern Africa. It considers the feasibility and desirability of relevant revenue streams towards achieving long-term financial sustainability in conservation landscapes, including sustainable wildlife economies and payment for ecosystem services (PES), and involving indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) particularly within CBNRM tenure arrangements. It concludes that a ‘CBNRM investment guarantee’ or similar would be transformational for hundreds of thousands of conservation enterprises and their beneficiaries regionally, but currently no such tailored de-risking mechanism exists.
Quantitative evidence for the risk of zoonoses and the spread of antimicrobial resistance remains lacking. Here, as part of the UrbanZoo project, we sampled Escherichia coli from humans, livestock and peri-domestic wildlife in 99 households across Nairobi, Kenya, to investigate its distribution among host species in this rapidly developing urban landscape. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 1,338 E. coli isolates and found that the diversity and sharing patterns of E. coli were heavily structured by household and strongly shaped by host type. We also found evidence for inter-household and inter-host sharing and, importantly, between humans and animals, although this occurs much less frequently. Resistome similarity was differently distributed across host and household, consistent with being driven by shared exposure to antimicrobials. Our results indicate that a large, epidemiologically structured sampling framework combined with WGS is needed to uncover strain-sharing events among different host populations in complex environments and the major contributing pathways that could ultimately drive the emergence of zoonoses and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
There is a need to include local people’s voices in research and planning processes to better understand what they see as opportunities and challenges for their future. This is necessary because of the intrinsic importance of public participation, and because it can help produce more useful and implementable adaptation plans. We apply participatory photography in a Papua New Guinean smallholder farming community to explore local perspectives on resource management, drivers of change and adaptive strategies. Twenty-four farmers of different clans, genders and ages took photos of items important to their livelihoods, focusing separately on the past, present and future. We discussed the photos and their meanings in individual and group interviews, encouraging farmers to lead the conversations. Results show that farmers are shifting from relying mainly on natural capitals to using financial, social and physical capitals, and that this causes changes in people’s well-being. Villagers see cash crop diseases, land shortages and lack of training as their main challenges. So far, people have adapted to changes by shifting to crop species that still yield well, and setting up small businesses and projects to have additional sources of income. Farmers see education as key to their future as it would allow for better land management and diversification of livelihoods. The participatory photography process provided triangulation of scientific studies, gave insights into farmers’ perceptions, and highlighted adaptive strategies and the complexities of realising them. Overall, the results can be used in future research and planning processes in Papua New Guinea.
The establishment of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) in EU Member States aims at increasing employment and territorial cohesion in coastal and inland fisheries-dependent communities through local initiatives funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The locally-defined priorities relevant for small-scale fisheries range from a sectoral vision, which focuses specifically on assisting the fisheries sector, to a territorial vision, where the focus is to support a bottom-up approach towards investment within the community. Our case studies in six EU Member States found that problems accrue due to an imbalance between these two visions. For instance, the implementation of the FLAG system in some cases has been found to be excessively sector-based, without using the opportunities for wider local participation of small-scale fisheries. Otherwise, it could be tilted towards an excessively territorial vision that ends up using a large part of the fishing funds to support other sectors than fisheries with greater economic weight and better capacity to manage the funds, such as tourism. In this chapter, we deploy a Blue Justice lens to investigate justice matters relating to FLAGs. This chapter seeks to improve understanding of what FLAGs are bringing – or taking away – from small-scale fisheries and their communities during the Blue Economy era. We draw on cases of best practices to illustrate how FLAGs could also be used to improve the overall sustainability of the fishing sector and provide recommendations on how these can be implemented through transformations in how FLAGs are governed.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had considerable negative impacts on the livelihoods and living conditions of communities around the world. Although the source of COVID-19 is still unknown, a widely spread hypothesis is that the virus could be of animal origin. Wild meat is used by rural communities as a source of income and food, and it has been hypothesised that the pandemic might alter their perceptions and use of wild meat. McNamara et al. (2020) developed a causal model hypothesising how the impacts of the pandemic could lead to a change in local incentives for wild meat hunting in sub-Saharan African countries. From February 27 to March 19, 2021, we carried out a survey around the Dja Faunal Reserve, Southeast Cameroon, to test McNamara et al.'s model in practice, using semi-structured questionnaires to investigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on wild meat hunting and consumption. Our results generally agree with the causal pathways suggested by McNamara et al. However, our study highlights additional impact pathways not identified in the model. We provide revisions to McNamara's model to incorporate these pathways and inform strategies to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
‘Good governance’ is highlighted by many as being essential for improving protected area (PA) management and conservation outcomes, with a growing body of evidence based on site-level governance data. Yet how exactly governance at other levels supports or hinders successful PA implementation, and how this should be considered in conservation planning and practice, remains insufficiently understood. We conducted an exploratory analysis of the relationship between the quality of country-level governance and trends in tree cover loss within sub-Saharan African PAs. For the period 2008–2017, we correlated annual governance scores from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) with the annual rate of tree cover loss in the total terrestrial area of PAs in 33 forested sub-Saharan African countries. Overall governance was not correlated with tree cover loss in a simple model, but there was evidence that overall governance was positively correlated with tree cover loss in PAs when the interaction with environmental governance was included. The interaction indicated that the rate of tree cover loss decreased for a given level of overall governance as environmental governance increased. Human development was negatively correlated with forest loss. Thus, the relationship between country-level ‘good governance’ and conservation success is more complex than a direct and positive cause and effect. Yet, uncertainty remains about the many possible and likely confounding pathways: whilst the quality of overall governance may be mirrored at the site-level, it may also contribute to increased anthropogenic pressures on natural resources. Through this research we found significant limitations in data quality and availability both to evaluate the effectiveness of protection beyond tree cover, as well as less conventional governance aspects, such as environmental policy and regulation or site-level governance. With an expected increase in area-based protection and conservation financing in the coming decades, such data will be vital to monitor the effectiveness of our efforts and ensure financial accountability.
Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) provide food security, livelihood, and employment to millions of people around the world. Whereas the urgency of securing sustainable SSFs is widely recognized, the governance characteristics that promote sustainability are poorly understood. This study evaluates the performance and governance of SSFs in 20 countries in the Americas and Europe, with the aim of finding the most likely paths to improve SSFs outcomes. Fisheries performance was assessed through ecological and socio-economic indicators derived from stakeholders’ perceptions. The relative importance of 15 governance attributes associated with the perceived performance was identified using random forest regression models. The perceived status of many SSFs analyzed here is of great concern. Trends in reported landings, landings per unit effort, and revenues have decreased between 3% and 10% on average in the last 5 years, and these declines were steeper in Latin American and southern European fisheries than in North American or northern European fisheries. Perceived social cohesion was also poor, as reflected by conflicts outweighing cooperation. Adaptability, communication, transparency, and the involvement of highly skilled fishers and community leaders were the most relevant factors associated with reversing the perceived declines in SSFs. Strengthening human capital should be a priority in the reform of SSFs, and the following actions are strongly recommended to support sustainable SSFs: 1) adopting flexible approaches in responding to changes; 2) fostering dialog by using diverse communication channels or involving neutral mediators; 3) identifying and training community leaders; and 4) empowering fishers to participate actively in governance.
The global trade in cephalopods is a multi-billion dollar business involving the fishing and production of more than ten commercially valuable species. It also contributes, in whole or in part, to the subsistence and economic livelihoods of thousands of coastal communities around the world. The importance of cephalopods as a major cultural, social, economic, and ecological resource has been widely recognised, but research efforts to describe the extent and scope of the global cephalopod trade are limited. So far, there are no specific regulatory and monitoring systems in place to analyse the traceability of the global trade in cephalopods at the international level. To understand who are the main global players in cephalopod seafood markets, this paper provides, for the first time, a global overview of the legal trade in cephalopods. Twenty years of records compiled in the UN COMTRADE database were analysed. The database contained 115,108 records for squid and cuttlefish and 71,659 records for octopus, including commodity flows between traders (territories or countries) weighted by monetary value (USD) and volume (kg). A theoretical network analysis was used to identify the emergent properties of this large trade network by analysing centrality measures that revealed key insights into the role of traders. The results illustrate that three countries (China, Spain, and Japan) led the majority of global market movements between 2000 and 2019. Based on volume and value, as well as the number of transactions, 11 groups of traders were identified. The leading cluster consisted of only eight traders, who dominated the cephalopod market in Asia (China, India, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam), Europe (the Netherlands, and Spain), and the USA. This paper identifies the countries and territories that acted as major importers or exporters, the best-connected traders, the hubs or accumulators, the modulators, the main flow routes, and the weak points of the global cephalopod trade network over the last 20 years. This knowledge of the network is crucial to move towards an environmentally sustainable, transparent, and food-secure global cephalopod trade.
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67 members
David Satterthwaite
  • Human Settlements Group
Saleemul Huq
  • Climate Change
Cecilia Tacoli
  • Human Settlements Group
Ina Porras
  • Shaping Sustainable Markets
Cristina Pita
  • Shaping Sustainable Markets
80-86 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8NH, London, England, United Kingdom
Head of institution
Andrew Norton