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Multilevel assessment of a large-scale programme for poverty alleviation and wetland conservation: lessons from South Africa

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The implementation of large-scale programmes for environment and development presents two main challenges: the tensions between both goals and the disconnect across policy levels. To contribute to overcoming these challenges, we assess a national multi-partnership programme for poverty alleviation and wetland restoration in South Africa: Working for Wetlands. We analyse this innovative polycentric programme at the macro and micro levels. At the national level, we assess the policy development and implementation model. At the local level, we analyse its impact on livelihoods and on opinions about development and the environment at a specific location. We use data from in-depth interviews across scales, household surveys (n = 47) and focus group discussions. The strengths of this programme can inform more effective design of further large-scale environment and development policies. However, critical issues originated at the national scale are likely to hinder the permanence of improvements at the micro level.
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Aiora Zabala*, 1, 2, Caroline A. Sullivan3,2
* Corresponding author. Email: aiora.zabala@gmail.com
Telephone: +44(0)7717 062154.
1 Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge,
The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street,
Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK (Present address).
2 Oxford University Centre for the Environment, University of Oxford,
South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK (Previous institution, where this
research was done).
3 School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, PO
Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia (Present address).
Email: caroline.sullivan@scu.edu.au
RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA 
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
The implementation of large-scale programs for environment and development
presents two main challenges: the tensions between both goals and the disconnect across
policy levels. To contribute to overcoming these challenges, we assess a national multi-
partnership program for poverty alleviation and wetland restoration in South Africa:
Working for Wetlands. We analyse this innovative polycentric program at the macro and
micro levels. At the national level, we assess the policy development and
implementation model. At the local level, we analyse its impact on livelihoods and on
opinions about development and the environment at a specific location. We use data
from in-depth interviews across scales, household surveys (n=47) and focus group
discussions. The strengths of this program can inform more effective design of further
large-scale environment and development policies. However, critical issues originated
at the national scale are likely to hinder the permanence of improvements at the micro
level.

environmental policy, wetland restoration, livelihoods, perspectives, multi-
scale policy evaluation, development
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!
Polycentric models of governance are increasingly relevant in environmental
policy, and government-led multilevel programs can have a key role in such models
(Jordan and Huitema 2014). In large-scale multilevel programs, the goal of
environmental conservation is often combined with poverty alleviation into a win-win
policy that aims to address these two major global challenges for sustainable
development (UN 2015). However, planning and implementing these programs requires
innovative approaches to overcome two fundamental difficulties: achieving the two
goals of conservation and development simultaneously, and ensuring policy integration
across levels (Cash et al. 2006).
The complexity of achieving environment and human development goals is
epitomised in the payments for ecosystem services literature, particularly in the fairness-
versus-efficiency debate (Pascual et al. 2010). For example, environmentally vulnerable
sites may not necessarily overlap with the poorest communities. As a result, policy
resources and targeting in practice tend to focus more either on poverty alleviation or on
environmental conservation. However, in spite of much discussion about potentially
negative interactions between both goals, combining them has several benefits.
Fundamentally, enhancing development may be critical for long-term environmental
conservation (Leimona et al. 2015).
The path from the conceptualisation of a large-scale program to its actual
effects on the ground goes through numerous geographical and socio-institutional
layers. This complexity often curtails effectiveness, as demonstrated by the extensive
literature on integrated conservation and development projects (see e.g. Brown, 2003;
Minang and Noordwijk, 2013). Arguably, policymakers or project managers are
embedded in dynamics that differ importantly from those of local actors. This
separation can result in differing understandings of problems, needs and solutions
(Adger et al. 2001), and the long-term effectiveness of a program may be at risk if it
fails to incorporate the specifics of local realities (Binns, Nel, and Hill 1997). In this
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA "
situation, the capacity of the program to adapt to local conditions is weak, potentially
hampering the permanence of its impacts.
These challenges are exemplified by two such large-scalees in middle-income
countries that are rich in natural resources: the Payments for Hydrological Services in
Mexico (Alix-Garcia et al. 2009) and the Sloping Land Conversion Program in China
(Wang and Maclaren 2012; Cao 2011). Both programs were criticised because the
targeting of locations were often inappropriate from an environmental point of view. In
both cases, the authors argued that inadequate targeting occurred because the projects
were not initially designed for the large scales that they adopted later on; throughout the
implementation and rescaling processes, the targeting criteria were relaxed and became
too malleable to various institutional forces.
In order to provide new insight about how to overcome these two key
difficulties—achieving environment and development goals and integrating policy
levels effectively—we evaluate the impact of a national multi-partnership program for
poverty alleviation and wetland restoration in South Africa: Working for Wetlands
(WfW hereafter). Even though this program has run for almost 15 years, no assessment
has been published in the academic literature. A few studies discussed Working for
Water, a larger program to eliminate invasive species that preceded WfW (e.g. Turpie
et al., 2008). A similar model to that of WfW has been applied to other national
programs in this country (e.g. Working with Fire), and the lessons learnt from these
multi-partnership innovative experiences can be helpful not only in South Africa, but
also in other countries that develop large-scale environment and poverty alleviation
policies (such as Payments for Hydrological services in Mexico or the Sloping Land
Conversion Program in China). Such large-scale programs include policies within the
realm of payments for ecosystem services as well as policies with a mix of instruments.
These programs share fundamental requirements of scalability, adaptability to local
conditions and efficient flows of capital across the governance structure.
In 2008 WfW had 40 projects throughout South Africa, targeting 91 wetlands
and providing direct employment to almost 2,000 people (SANBI 2008). It evolved
from joint efforts among different national departments and NGOs to address the severe
environmental degradation experienced in almost half of the wetlands across the
country (Dini 2004). In parallel, unemployment became a major concern in South
Africa in recent decades (Kingdon and Knight 2007). Jointly, water scarcity, ecosystem
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA #
degradation and unemployment are common concerns also in other large and resource-
rich middle-income economies.
This evaluation of WfW is focused on the link between the policy process at
the macro level and the impacts at the micro level. At the macro level, we assess three
critical aspects: the institutional development of the program, how the initial concept is
reflected on the implementation, and the adaptability of the program to a local context.
At the micro level, we assess the impact of the program on livelihoods and opinions at a
specific location. We explore whether the benefits are likely to remain. Policy
appraisals tend to focus on evaluating current policy outcomes, but rarely explore their
long-term impacts (Grosjean and Kontoleon 2009) and therefore may omit important
caveats that can hinder long-lasting effectiveness. We then discuss key areas for
improvement, as well as highlight pivotal factors of success that can be transferred to
other contexts.
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To guide this analysis of the institutional and implementation processes and of
the impacts of the program, we develop a conceptual framework, adapted from a classic
framework of the public policy process (Figure 1). The framework we propose begins
with conceptualisation (or agenda setting). An exploration of solutions and feasibility
ensue, which result in defining the program characteristics. The process of
implementation then is followed by an evaluation of the impact.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA '
In this framework, each component of the process is predominantly located at
the macro or at the micro scales. The implementation connects both scales, and the
policy outcomes or impacts are experienced on the ground in various areas, namely:
environmental, socio-economic and opinions (the latter is relevant for the continuation
of a program in the long term). Once the local impacts are realised, the policy process
continues (in theory) with a reassessment of whether the problem persists, evolves or is
observed again after a period, in which case the policy may have to be reconceived.
The assessment of the policy at the macro and the micro scales in this study
conforms to the framework above. In order to obtain data to assess each of the steps,
this study combines in-depth interviews to key informants across levels and program
reports for the macro scale, household surveys and focus group discussions for the
micro scale, as explained below. Most of the primary data was collected in 2007.
Further expert consultation was conducted in 2013.
2.1 Macro level data
At the national scale, we reconstruct the history and initial goals of the
program. We narrate the institutional development of the program, including problem
conceptualisation, identification of solutions, gathering of resources to ensure
feasibility, policy design and process for implementation.
In order to build this account, we conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews
with eight experts involved in the management of the program. The selection of
informants for the interviews aimed to cover all levels of the program: national,
provincial and local. The sampling approach to select the interviewees was a
combination of purposive and snowball. We contacted the manager of WfW in the
location under study, who named further individuals involved in this specific project at
different scales. We contacted the planning manager of WfW nationally, who named
three further experts. The experts interviewed included two implementers of WfW at the
local level and the manager of the natural reserve where restoration was being
conducted in the case selected, a wetland expert at the provincial level, an NGO
program manager (both largely involved in the development of the program nationally),
the provincial coordinator of WfW, and two managers of WfW at the national level.
We recorded and transcribed the interviews, and coded them qualitatively to
identify main topics regarding the process, program strengths and weaknesses, and
recommendations. We complemented these data with secondary information which
included reports about program strategy and principles, and monitoring, auditing and
procedural documentation.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA (
2.2 Micro level data
At the local scale, we analyse the micro level impacts of the WfW project in
Seekoeivlei, a wetland in South Africa's Free State in the upper Orange river basin.
WfW began to restore this wetland in 2003, employing workers from a township nearby
(Zamani). This location is representative of the social history and current socio-
economic dynamics of the townships in the region and of the environmental history of
many other wetlands in the country (see description below).
We focus the analysis on the differences in livelihoods and employability of
beneficiaries and on their opinions about development needs and the environment. As a
proxy to understand the changes induced by WfW, the employees of the restoration
program (workers of WfW) are compared to a control group (non-workers of WfW).
We collected data that operationalises a range of socio-economic variables in a standard
manner as well as opinions relevant to environment and development in the area, and
included open-ended questions.
We randomly selected 22 WfW workers from 46 total employees and
administered an in-person questionnaire. All respondents had been working in WfW for
at least two years. A control group of 25 non-workers of similar age and gender balance
also completed the questionnaire. The latter were selected through multi-cluster random
sampling of houses over the aerial photograph of the township under study. A local
research assistant helped with language interpretation (Zulu and Sesotho). We tested the
questionnaire with the research assistant and revised as necessary. In addition, three ex-
workers, two contractors and a number of individuals from wealthier backgrounds
(living outside the township) also responded to the questionnaire. We excluded their
responses from the statistical analysis and interpreted them qualitatively.
The questionnaire included demographics, economic information, as well as
opinions about the use of water, wetlands and development. In order to explore the
potential for socio-economic sustainability of the livelihood benefits of the project, we
included an open-ended question about the types of jobs in which respondents could be
employed. We produced descriptive statistics from the survey data for workers and non-
workers (using R Core Team, 2015 v2.15.2), and conducted statistical tests for the
differences between both groups for all variables. We coded the open-ended questions
and calculated the frequencies of each concept.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA )
After conducting the surveys, we organised two focus group discussions with
women and men working in WfW in order to obtain more detailed information, and to
understand how core issues were discussed within a group and whether gender
differences existed. We invited all workers surveyed to the focus group discussions, and
each of the groups had at least 10 participants. We recorded, translated and transcribed
the focus group discussions, and analysed them using qualitative coding to identify
messages around main topics.
*%*
In South Africa, water is increasingly scarce (Lange, Mungatana, and Hassan
2007) and this scarcity affects the poorest sectors of society (Sullivan et al. 2003). South
African wetlands are predominantly related to the fluvial network (Sieben et al. 2011)
and therefore play a major role in water supply by providing water purification, flood
control, habitat for biodiversity and other ecosystem services and goods (UNESCO
1971; Sieben et al. 2011). However, these ecosystems used to be considered 'valueless
wastelands' (Krech, McNeill, and Merchant 2004) and they were often drained for
agricultural, infrastructure or other development projects (Dini 2004).
3.1 Policy conceptualisaon and instuonal design
With the aim of addressing the environmental degradation problem in South
African wetlands, WfW originated from separate efforts at government and NGO levels
(see timeline in Figure 2). In 1991 a nationwide wetland restoration program, the
Rennies Wetland Project, begun by initiative of the Wildlife and Environment Society
of South Africa, WWF-SA, and three corporate funders (Lindley 2003). The project
trained many volunteers on wetland assessment techniques across the country, surveyed
over 40,000 ha of wetlands, developed restoration plans for many of them, and raised
awareness among landowners and government agencies to undertake sustainable
wetland management (interviewee, p.c.). In order to engage partners to fund restoration
projects, the program emphasised the relevance of wetlands for water purification,
provision of water supply and management of water flow. These developments marked
the identification of the problem and the feasibility assessment of the policy process
(Figure 1).
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After defining the problem and conducting preparatory work, the policy design
for WfW adapted the model already in place of Working for Water. The South African
government initiated Working for Water in 1995 with the aim of controlling invasive
alien plants and to provide employment (Turpie, Marais, and Blignaut 2008). This
program was a partnership between the Department of Water Affairs (DWAF), the
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), and the Department of
Agriculture.
WfW was initially designed as a component of Working for Water. The
Rennies Wetland Project (later renamed Mondi Wetlands Project) raised awareness and
lobbied to include a wetland section within Working for Water, in order to rehabilitate
wetlands at a national scale (interviewee, p.c.). Wetland restorations within Working for
Water would increase the efficiency of water management with a relatively small
amount of investment, while promoting employment.
Continuing with the stage of policy design, in 2000 the wetland section was
reorganised for size and strategic reasons and to give it a more robust structure. It was
then renamed WfW. This separation would ensure the long-term provision of funding
for the project (interviewee, p.c.). DWAF provided initial funding of R20 million in
2000-2001 (approximately 1.5 million; interviewee, p.c.). Inter-ministerial cooperation
was catalysed for cooperative governance of WfW among the DWAF, DEAT and
Department of Agriculture. In 2003, the program moved to DEAT in a subsidiary
initiative called DEAT/Working for Water-Wetland Restoration Partnership,
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  -
implemented by Working for Water, and the budget raised to R40 million annually
(approx. 3 million; interviewee, p.c.).
In 2003 the Department of Labour created the Expanded Public Works
Program (EPWP) for poverty alleviation. This was based on the National Public Works
Program created in the mid 1990s (Frye 2006; McCord 2004; Phillips 2004a; Phillips
2004b) and it is a comprehensive framework to create employment via labour-intensive
government projects. The Department of Labour funds projects that operate under the
EPWP framework, which are managed by other programs such as Working for Water
and WfW.
In 2004 the newly created South African National Biodiversity Institute
(SANBI), a statutory body and agency of DEAT, became the host for managing WfW.
SANBI had more managerial freedom than governmental institutions and would
arguably improve financial efficiency (interviewee, p.c.). Also in 2004, WWF-SA
together with Mondi Wetlands Project commissioned a qualitative assessment of the
impact of WfW on livelihoods in three locations (Nkoko and Macun 2005). In 2006-
2007 WfW had an annual budget of R66 million (approx. 5 million), which raised to
almost R80 million in 2011-2012 (approx. 6 million; SANBI, 2012a).
3.2 Management and implementaon
WfW employs at SANBI between ten and twelve management staff that are
responsible for management at the national scale, while other positions are externalised
through contracts. Funding for WfW is provided by Treasury to DEAT, which then
passes it on to SANBI.1 The WfW guidelines based on EPWP requirements limit the
percentage of the budget spent on administration and professional fees to 14%. These
guidelines require that a minimum of 42% is spent on wages and the rest on material,
community facilitation, training and logistics (SANBI 2012b).
In practice, the criteria for targeting wetlands for restoration are variable,
though alternative targeting based on environmental conditions has been proposed
(Sieben et al. 2011). Locations can be suggested via wetland forums organised across
the country or by initiative of the provincial coordinators or other stakeholders
(interviewee, p.c.). Once a location is chosen, a contracted engineering firm elaborates a
1 This is a program funded by the state, based on the principle of reinvesting collected taxes into
projects for social benefit that address problems that may not otherwise be solved by the market. It is
not, a priori, a market mechanism such as payments for ecosystem services.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Restoration Plan in cooperation with provincial government experts. SANBI makes an
open call and selects the company or the public entity that will implement the project.
The implementing agency is encouraged to employ one or more locally-based emerging
contractors that lead teams of workers. The latter are selected via a call organised by the
local authority (interviewee, p.c.). The environmental impact of the proposed restoration
is assessed ex-ante in an Environmental Management Plan. Prior to the restoration, a
legal agreement is signed between landowners and SANBI to safeguard the restoration
work.2
At the time of the interviews, an auditing of the environmental performance of
restoration structures at the national level was being carried out by an external auditor.
However, the environmental performance of each restoration project was not being
quantitatively monitored, arguably due to the lack of resources to carry out these tasks
(interviewee, p.c.). Improvements are reportedly visible (Dini, 2004, interviewees,
p.c.) and in 2008, the Water Research Commission published a report that showed
improvements in the ecosystems of the six cases that the study analysed (interviewee,
p.c.).
WfW aims to give an opportunity for unemployed people (particularly
marginalised and vulnerable groups) to enter the labour market by providing income,
training and qualifications. Workers could be employed during a maximum of 24
months in a period of five years, although this restriction was eliminated in 2010. The
selection of workers intends to follow EPWP guidelines and nears the established
targets of 60% women, 20% under 35, and 2% disabled among the beneficiaries, of
which at least 80% need to be living in the local area (Dini 2004; South African
Department of Labour 2002; SANBI 2012b). For each 22 days of work, workers receive
two days of training covering technical skills, first aid, health, safety, environmental
awareness or business skills (SANBI 2012b). There is a core training provided to all
workers and further training needs are agreed between the national training manager at
SANBI and implementers at each location.
2 During the implementation of a project, implementers submit monthly Project Progress Reports and
provincial coordinators produce Inspection Reports about the progress and working conditions.
Implementers may have more than one project and they gather all the Project Progress Reports into a
Cluster Report every two months, which is conditional for payment (interviewee, p.c.). In addition,
yearly or at the end of a project, an external auditor makes a Regularity Audit with a check-list
provided by SANBI. There is also an internal code of practice (Basic Management Practices).
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  
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4.1 Case study descripon
The Upper Orange river basin provides water to Gauteng province, where
Johannesburg agglomerates the main industrial centre in Southern Africa (Sullivan and
Fisher 2011). The wetland of Seekoeivlei is considered important for the regional and
national economy for its water supply function in the context of this basin. Seekoeivlei
is located in a rural area next to the town of Memel and the township of Zamani in Free
State (Figure 3). It is a marshland composed of about 220 small seasonally-flooded
oxbow lakes formed in the meanders of the Klip River (Tooth et al. 2002) and it is the
largest wetland on the Highveld (Collins 2004). The wetland is known for its
exceptional bird biodiversity and other natural values (Brett 2002; Eckhardt et al. 1993;
du Preez and Marneweck 1996). It attracts nature-based tourism as well as
environmental education activities. The wetland is also one of the 21 wetlands declared
Ramsar sites from over 114,000 wetlands mapped in South Africa (SANBI, National
Wetlands Inventory).
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  
&.%/0&1/2!303
41
The population in Memel is of approximately 468 inhabitants, predominantly
white, and 5,011 in Zamani (Statistics South Africa 2001), which has a much greater
density (See Figure 3). Zamani grew a lot after 1994, when the introduction of the
minimum wage nationally triggered massive migration of farm labourers to townships,
because farmers would no longer employ as many labourers as they used to. There is no
relevant industry in the area and tourism and farms provide most employment. Overall,
the most frequent livelihood strategies in the township are, according to our data, on
farms, domestic work, and casual or part-time jobs. Many households depend on
migration remittances or only on child grants or pensions, a situation also found
elsewhere in Free State during the nineties (Murray 2000) and more widely in South
African rural households in subsequent decades (Møller and Radloff 2013).
Unemployment remains a major problem (Banerjee et al. 2008).
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  "
During the last century, this wetland was degraded due to overgrazing,
drainage channels to gain agricultural land, packed sand-bags to divert the original
course of the river, invasive alien vegetation, inappropriate establishment of foot and
livestock paths, and off-road vehicle tracks and roads (interviewee, p.c.). Those changes
eroded the capacity of the wetland to store water and its quality as habitat for
biodiversity.
In 1978, Free State Conservation protected 378 ha of the wetland (FSC 1985),
and between 1991 and 1994 it bought further land. The Resource Conservation Sub-
directorate of the provincial Department of Agriculture made the first restoration
attempt in 1993 by building some structures to prevent reduction in the water level and
further damage (Pienaar 1993). In 1996, the Free State Conservation agency received
funding for restoration from the government water utility in Gauteng Province (FSC,
1996; and M. de Fontaine, p.c.). However structures started to fail early (interviewee,
p.c.).
In 1997 by initiative of the Free State Department of Environmental Affairs,
Seekoeivlei was declared a Ramsar site (Ramsar Convention Secretariat 2013). This is
the only Ramsar wetland in Free State, where more than 23,000 wetlands have been
inventoried. Currently, the Nature Reserve extends over 4,455 ha, covering 2,800 ha of
wetland area (FS-DTEEA 2005) and the Free State Department of Tourism,
Environmental and Economic Affairs funds and manages it.
In April 2003 WfW started a new project to raise the water level and reduce the
speed of water flow using concrete and gabion structures (SANBI, DEAT, and LRI
2006). The local municipality made a public call for workers. In principle, the selection
was based on the guidelines explained above and among those in most need of
employment. However, how this was done in practice remains unclear from the
interviews; reportedly, employees of WfW had been selected at random among all the
unemployed attendants in a public call made by the municipality. In 2007, the project
employed 46 workers in Zamani, arguably the largest employer in the township. The
annual budget was almost R1.5 million for 2008-09 (approx. 100,000; SANBI, 2009).
According to the manager of the Nature Reserve, the wetland environment improved
after the intervention of WfW: the water level increased and some wetland vegetation
recovered. Nonetheless, no systematic quantitative monitoring of the ecological state of
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  #
the wetland had been done. In 2011, the second phase of the wetland restoration plan
was published (SANBI 2010; SANBI 2011).
4.2 Impact on livelihoods
The socio-economic characteristics and opinions of the workers surveyed as
well as those of the control group (non-workers) are compared below. The main
differences are found in demography and in the opinion questions. Table 1 shows the
socio-economic results. The interpretation of the results is complemented with
qualitative explanations collected through the open-ended questions.
, 5
Variable Categories Workers
(n = 22)
Non-workers
(n = 25)
p.value
People in the household, from which: a7.55 5.88 .04**
Children below 2 years a0.64 0.44 .52
Children below 16 a3.27 2.40 .10*
Aged 16 - 25 a1.32 0.96 .11
Aged above 25 a2.95 2.52 .46
Highest level of studies in the household bPrimary 1 0 .61
Secondary 20 21
Tertiary 1 2
Others 0 2
Range of income b< R500 3 6 .46
R500-1000 12 13
R1000-1500 6 3
>R1500 1 3
Property of the house bGovernment 1 3 .65
Informal 3 2
Owned 18 20
Wealth index based on owned goods c5.46 6.79 .10
Note: Non-parametric tests are applied for robustness (Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon for continuous
variables, Fisher's exact test for categorical variables). Significance: ** p < .05, * p < .1.
a Number of individuals per household and Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test.
b Count of responses and Fisher's exact test.
c The wealth index is based on the number of goods in the household amongs the following: bicycle,
motor vehicle, washing machine, cooker, television, radio, land-line and cellphone, fridge, power supply,
gardening tools, DVD, Hi-Fi, microwave, freezer, and photo camera. Goods are weighted by the
Consumer Price Index of South Africa of 2008 (Statistics South Africa 2009).
WfW encouraged some differences in livelihood assets, most notably in human
capital. The two aspects of human capital considered quantitatively are the size of the
family and education level. Families are significantly larger among workers, who have
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  '
more children below 15. Workers have on average more children below two years (born
within the duration of the program in Seekoeivlei) although this difference is not
significant.
As expected, workers improved their skills and got experience, according to
the open-ended responses. They mentioned having paid education for children and
certificates for other members of the family. Some of them also expressed an increase in
self-esteem for they are now contributing to the welfare of the household.
Regarding income, the average level among workers and non-workers is similar,
although the latter have more observations in the two extreme categories, showing more
spread. WfW arguably ensures a minimum level of income during the period in which
people are in the program, which brings workers up from the poorest categories. Workers
use their income principally for immediate consumption such as bills, food and clothes.
Most workers said having bought furniture, but they made no major enhancements, and
they have fewer durable goods in their household than non-workers, according to the
wealth index. In contrast, contractors have a visibly higher purchasing capacity and they
reported important expenses such as expanding the house.
There are remarkable differences between workers and non-workers regarding
their opinion on water management policies and participation (Table 2). Workers have a
stronger position in favour of the local management of water (question F).
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  (
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Question Categories Workers
(n = 22)
Non-
workers
(n = 25)
p.value
A. Do you benefit from the wetland as a
tourism attraction?
(n = 42)
A lot 6 3 .00***
A bit 6 0
No 9 18
B. Dams or wetlands are very important
for your livelihood
(n = 38)
Strongly disagree 1 3 .04**
Disagree 0 6
Neutral 0 1
Agree 1 6
Strongly agree 11 9
C. Dams or wetlands are less important
for us now than before
(n = 42)
Strongly disagree 12 5 .01**
Disagree 7 7
Neutral 1 2
Agree 0 6
Strongly agree 0 2
D. The protection of Seekoeivlei has
improved your access to it
(n = 43)
Strongly disagree 0 0 .03**
Disagree 6 5
Neutral 0 6
Agree 15 10
Strongly agree 1 0
E. The conservation policy in
Seekoeivlei has taken into account your
needs and opinion
(n = 30)
Strongly disagree 1 1 .72
Disagree 3 4
Neutral 0 1
Agree 1 7
Strongly agree 8 4
F. The use and conservation of water is
better managed at a local level
(n = 45)
Strongly disagree 1 1 .06*
Disagree 2 4
Neutral 0 0
Agree 5 12
Strongly agree 14 6
G. What do you think is most important
for the development or survival of the
community?
(n = 47)
Jobs 13 9 .02**
Quality housing 3 1
Others 2 4
Toilets 1 1
Health centre 1 0
Food access and
quality improvement
1 0
Electricity 1 0
Water access and
quality improvement
0 2
Streets 0 1
Housing 0 7
Note: Original questions were in Zulu. Count of responses and p-values for Fisher's exact test are
reported. Significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .1
In terms of the likelihood of using the new skills for future jobs, workers do not
envision an enhancement of their livelihood strategies derived from the newly-acquired
skills. According to the program training premises, workers should be able to work in
erosion control in the region in the future. Indeed, they feel confident about their
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  )
knowledge to solve erosion problems. However, when talking about potential future
occupation they refer to jobs related with their employment prior to WfW. Also, the
four ex-workers interviewed were unemployed during the course of this fieldwork and,
except for the contractors, workers do not know how to use these skills to seek further
employment. In addition, while erosion is severe in the area, landowning farmers do not
perceive this as an urgent problem, thus there is no explicit demand for restoration
skills. This combination of a lack of skills awareness and of demand for these skills
implies that the positive impact of WfW in the livelihood strategies of workers other
than contractors might not sustain beyond the period of employment within the
program.
4.3 Percepons about development and environment
We analysed and compared opinions about development and environment in a
broad sense of how people define them (Figure 4), and in a specific sense about the
development needs of their community and about their relation with the wetland (Table
2 above).
&",67
Note: Frequencies within each group of respondents are shown. Each respondent could mention more
than one concept and each mention is counted.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA  +
Among the concepts used to define development, workers stress more strongly
that development is linked to employment generation. This was corroborated in the
focus group discussions, where development was predominantly defined as job creation.
About their community, respondents value most the low level of crime and insist on the
severity of the lack of employment as the main problem to address (question G in Table
2). However, according to the open-ended responses there is little precision about how
employment is to be achieved; the word ‘job opportunity’ is used like a black box,
meaning any task that will give money in return of work.
One of the capacity-enhancement goals of the program is environmental
education. Although the variability of answers and concepts related to the environment
is lower than that of development (Figure 4), workers in general have a deeper
awareness of environmental issues. Workers articulate a more complex discourse, with
a higher frequency of holistic views and of Others’, a category that includes action
phrases likeWe need to preserve’. Workers feel that they have more knowledge about
environmental issues than before, and they also feel having a better knowledge of the
environment in Seekoeivlei in comparison to other residents in the township. When
talking about the environment, workers highlight water conservation and soil erosion.
This latter observation may be a consequence of the macro-scale strategy in WfW, of
emphasizing water rather than biodiversity (see above), which directly influenced the
environmental training provided.
Workers also agree more strongly that wetlands are important for their
livelihood and that they are more relevant now than before (questions B and C in Table
2). They perceive that wetlands are important because they provide and purify water,
although they believe that this hydrological function is important as a source of life for
animals and plants, but not necessarily for their own livelihood. Their perception about
the ecosystem is thus alienated from their quotidian life, leaving out the important pillar
(in environmental awareness) of connecting nature with one's basic needs.
The perception of the link between livelihoods and wetlands is higher for
wealthy families outside the township who benefit from the tourism it attracts,
according to the few interviews conducted among these households. Despite that a
higher proportion of workers than non-workers responded having benefits from the
wetland as a tourism attraction (question A in Table 2), people in the township generally
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA -
perceive the reserve as a luxury only for tourists and would not usually use or visit
nearby wetlands.
It follows that non-workers have little knowledge of what a wetland is and
some acknowledge the need for participation and education to appreciate what is in
Seekoeivlei. This was confirmed by a few responses that reveal important
misunderstandings about what is in the reserve, what it is for and who can access it. The
higher environmental awareness of workers is thus an effect of the program that is
consistent with its goals.
#
The implementation of the program is consistent with its basic principles and
with the initial objectives of each of the initiatives that converged into it (development
and restoration). Particular features of the policy process are clearly reflected on the
ground (e.g. the emphasis on water instead of biodiversity), the program is achieving
some positive impacts in the socio-economic dimension (e.g. less people in the lowest
income category and some additional education, also in the wider household) and,
reportedly, in the environmental dimension. The project has attained some specific
livelihoods goals: it created working days, provided wage, well-being and skills.
Development is thus provided as job creation and skills training, and environmental
awareness is increased. The results however, give indication that the continuation of
employment after WfW may be uncertain. The following are the main positive aspects
of WfW, which can provide lessons for other programs, as well as the main caveats.
5.1 Strengths
Throughout the policy process narrated above we identify four key success
strategies: a) emphasizing water rather than other less-known ecosystem benefits; b)
efforts in awareness raising, media coverage and lobbying; c) labour-intensive
restoration measures to increase the amount of employment provided and d) specific
institutional moves.
First, from the beginning, the water management function of wetlands was
emphasized as their main value, instead of less-known ecosystem services. This
decision helped to get more institutions involved, to strengthen their motivation and,
ultimately, to secure resources. Water management can grab the attention of decision
makers and stakeholders more effectively than, for example, biodiversity, because they
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA 
can relate water to direct uses of a market economy and to episodes of drought and
floods. This positive umbrella effect of the concept of water was also identified in the
Working for Water program (Turpie, Marais, and Blignaut 2008).
Second, in the years prior to WfW, the non-governmental organisations that
catalysed it made a thorough effort to inventory degraded wetlands, to increase human
capacity for wetland monitoring and to track and promote in the media the
representation of the project and of the topic of wetland conservation. Joint efforts in
awareness raising, media coverage and lobbying, together with intense floods in 2000,
contributed to increase the presence and relevance of wetlands in the public opinion and
among academics and professionals (interviewee, p.c.). In sum, there was a significant
investment at the conceptualisation and feasibility stages, before resources for the
program were secured.
Third, every individual restoration plan was designed to be labour intensive.
This feature linked the wetland restoration target with creation of employment, which
had a strong influence in tapping into funding from EPWP. Unemployment is acute in
South Africa and thereby investing the same budget to solve two concerns
simultaneously was attractive for more potential funders. Additionally, the use of
labour-intensive methods enabled more environmentally-friendly procedures, for it
avoided heavy intervention on the land (Dini 2004).
Finally, specific institutional moves explained above helped to overcome
hurdles along the policy process, namely: appointing full-time wetland provincial
experts and co-governing the program among multiple institutions. The establishment of
full-time experts within government staff introduced wetlands further into the political
agenda. In addition, having multiple hosting departments ensured that major decisions
would not depend on a single institution only, and this helped secure the continuation of
WfW at stages when it became at risk due to political conjunctures. Later and
reportedly, hosting the program within a subsidiary institution allowed higher efficiency
in financial management, although there are contrasting perspectives among
interviewees with respect to this last remark.
5.2 Weaknesses
WfW is a complex program that deals with many different actors and processes
across levels, and it is inherently difficult to implement sound principles on the ground.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA 
We identified the following limitations in order of severity: intermittence of the works,
lack of a local or regional market for the skills acquired, lack of financial capacity for
particular tasks (particularly for environmental monitoring) and complexity of the
learning process with landowners. These critical issues may hinder the local socio-
economic and environmental improvements from being sustained in the long term. They
are explained below, ordered according to the policy process of the conceptual
framework.
Lack of a local or regional market for the skills acquired
An important challenge of the program is to increase worker capacities in a
way that is meaningful and useful for future employment. Experts interviewed argued
that there was a lack of emphasis in life skills (in contrast to technical skills) and of
awareness of employees about their transferable skills. In employees’ opinion, training
is helpful although it is short and sometimes redundant, and they would like to go more
in-depth on some subjects.
Another key challenge is the need for a coherent coordination between the
skills provided and local market demands, and this is reflective of a lack of connection
between policy scales. For example, workers often did not link the skills they had learnt
with plausible future jobs. Even when workers were aware of their capacities, in the
current local market there might not be a niche for these skills.
Both limitations may hamper the socio-economic sustainability of employment
after the project finishes. This constraint has been identified by some participants, by
several of the interviewees, and also by other research about the EPWP (Frye 2006) and
about agricultural development programmes in South Africa (Jacobson 2013). It is also
one of the most complex difficulties to overcome in comparison to more precisely
identified limitations such as budget delays.
A preliminary analysis of the labour market and an awareness-raising strategy
among landowners to increase the demand to solve erosion problems could improve the
likelihood for the employment promoted by WfW to continue beyond the program.
Such an ex-ante socio-economic assessment could be integrated at the planning stage of
each project, in parallel to the existing environmental assessment.
Complexity of the learning process with landowners
Some experts identify an insufficient engagement process with landowners as a
serious threat to the environmental sustainability of restoration works. The risk entailed
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is that the positive outcomes could be reverted if wetland management returns to pre-
restoration practices after the project terminates. This risk is particularly high in cases of
private property in which the wetland is not restored by those who damaged it. In these
cases, the long-term environmental sustainability of the project benefits does not depend
on the livelihoods of those participating in the program, but rather on landowner
behaviour.
In addition to the legal agreement signed between landowners and SANBI, a
social learning process is necessary to help building landowners' capacity and interest to
manage wetlands in a sustainable manner after the restoration (interviewees, p.c.). In
2013, a few pilot projects of such engagement and knowledge co-production were being
implemented (interviewee, p.c.).
Intermittence of funding flows
The movement of funds between departments has suffered delays leading to
the works being paused frequently. Government financial management is perceived as
inefficient and this shortcoming was repeatedly reported by both workers and experts.
According to some workers, pauses in funding flows drive them into debt during the
months in which they are not working, which may undermine their economic situation
(informal small and short-term loans for regular expenses in the township were
observed to have 25% of interest). The unreliability of funding also leads to less
efficient restoration works and higher funding needs; structures that are left half built
during long periods may start deteriorating and require additional work to be completed
(interviewee, p.c.).
Lack of financial capacity for particular tasks
Some experts identify further actions as necessary for adequate
implementation. For example, at the time of the interviews there was no systematic
monitoring of the environmental impact of projects, neither within WfW nor at the
provincial level in the case of Seekoeivlei and Free State. To improve this issue, a
requirement of a minimum of three years of environmental monitoring was introduced
late in 2012 (interviewee, p.c.).
Experts identify the lack of funding for further staff as one important reason for
not implementing such standardised monitoring systems. Arguably, more management
staff may be needed at the national level, but this is limited by EPWP principles, which
require that most budget for wages is used in generating employment among the lowest
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA "
income groups of society. This rule may create trade-offs and tensions (interviewee,
p.c.) between maximising the creation of employment and adequately planning,
monitoring and evaluating restoration projects.
'$
This paper assesses WfW, an innovative and multi-partnership wetland
restoration and poverty alleviation program in South Africa. This is an example of a
polycentric model of governance with the participation of private, public and non-profit
agents across levels. The study examines the links between the large-scale policymaking
and its impacts on the ground, and highlights how specific (positive and negative)
features of the macro level are reflected on local impacts. This integrated approach for
program assessment enables a more comprehensive appraisal of the factors hindering
and favouring success and continuation. It also provides lessons for strengthening the
design of further large-scale environment and development programs.
The WfW program emerged from the convergence of separate efforts that
aimed to address different problems of social concern. Its policy process involved
NGOs, private funders and government agencies of different nature. This multiple
origin reinforces its foundational solidity and social legitimacy. The case study suggests
that the program has achieved socio-economic and environmental targets, at least
temporally (the latter observed only qualitatively).
The consistency between goals and implementation is a virtue of this program
that contrasts with findings of evaluations of national-scale conservation and
development programs in other large middle-income and megadiverse countries, such as
Mexico and China (reported in Cao 2011; Alix-Garcia et al. 2009). A distortion of the
initial goals (restoring wetlands and creating employment) was not the case with WfW,
although experts identified the need to establish a more systematic way of prioritising
wetlands (such as that proposed by Sieben et al. 2011). These two programs also differ
from WfW in that their contribution to livelihoods were primarily in the form of
financial transfers. In contrast, WfW provides wages (payment in exchange for labour)
and also training, which is highly valued by workers as suggested by our results.
Nevertheless, the permanence of these impacts in the long term is uncertain.
Socio-economic improvements are unlikely to be sustained after WfW because of the
current lack of market demand for the skills provided and the lack of self-awareness of
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workers about the connection between the acquired skills and specific jobs. In terms of
environmental improvements, monitoring is necessary to evaluate the environmental
sustainability of restoration works and, in the case of restoration in private or communal
lands, environmental sustainability may only be achieved with the long-term
involvement of their stewards.
Areas for improvement directly draw from the limitations identified above:
ensuring consistent and continuous financial flow, integrating a pre-assessment of local
socio-economic needs, enhancing the participation and awareness of landowners, and
securing resources for environmental monitoring, plausibly by training workers
themselves in monitoring techniques.
The question of environmental policy integration (Lafferty and Hovden
2016) deserves a further remark. In the formulation process of the initiatives that led to
WfW, environment and development goals were conceptualised as two isolated goals
that were juxtaposed together rather than integrated: environmental restoration and
employment. This separation is reflected on the ground in two facets: the uncertainty
about permanence of the employment generated, and the perception of nature as
alienated from livelihoods.
For example, the intervention of WfW in Seekoeivlei is informed by the
environmental particularities of the area but not by its socio-economic characteristics.
Consequently, the skills provided might not match current demands of the local labour
market.
Also, while environmental awareness increased, workers hardly connect the
concepts of water and wetlands with their basic needs; they talk about the importance of
conserving water for animals, and about wildlife mainly as an attraction for tourism—
the income from which benefits mostly the white community. This lack of connection
contributes to a partial view of nature as something beautiful ‘out there’. In case of
major personal or communal trade-offs between the environment and other priorities,
this alienated view may result in the environment being relegated to a secondary
priority. In other words, the environmental policy integration across policy domains
(Jordan and Lenschow 2010) is not fully achieved.
To help overcome the perception of nature as something non-essential for real
needs, a more integrative training could emphasize how nature and livelihoods are
interlinked. For example, by illustrating the connection between conserving water in
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA '
Seekoeivlei and the industry that this water enables downstream in Johannesburg, where
many people in the township might be considering to migrate for jobs. The program can
also maximize its awareness achievements so far, by promoting some employees as
communicators for raising environmental awareness within their communities.
This study is limited, however, by the following caveats. The sample of
workers surveyed is representative of only a single location and thus its extrapolation to
other locations can only be exploratory. In this study, we excluded private landowners
targeted in other projects of WfW, who may help better understand the likelihood of
sustaining the environmental benefits. Our approach also leaves aside more systemic
macroeconomic and policy matters that affect unemployment in South Africa, and thus
suggests solutions only within the local system. Finally, we argued that more
knowledge about environmental impacts and ecosystem interconnectedness would
encourage pro-environmental behaviour. However, increased knowledge and
information are but one component of a more holistic model of behavioural change
(Zabala 2015).
Importantly, the success factors of this program can be useful in other contexts.
Two parallel strategies identified at the conceptualisation stage attracted funding: a
framing strategy that uses umbrella concepts to match the program with the interest of a
broad range of potential funders, and combining goals of social relevance. At the policy
design stage, two other approaches enhanced institutional and funding support:
diversifying the range of decision-making agencies that support the program in order to
minimise the risk of shut-down, and tracking and boosting media and public opinion on
the importance of wetlands and their rehabilitation. In addition, at the implementation
stage a systematic and effective reporting system eases transparent integration of efforts
across levels.
Our analysis of the policy process and its impacts on the ground provides an
example of how to link policy appraisal across levels in order to understand the macro
level causes of local impacts. It is essential that case-by-case implementation of an
environment and development program conducts appropriate ex ante assessment of
local needs, not just in the environmental domain, but also in the social and economic
domains. This research highlights the importance of having a long-term approach and
an integrated conceptualisation at the macro level if large-scale policies are to be
successful and sustained at the micro level.
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RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA (
%
This research was funded by the Basque Department of Research, the NeWater
project (6th EU framework program), and St. Cross College, University of Oxford. The
authors are grateful to Kate van Niekerk and Thamsanqa Ledula for the help provided in
the field, and to Adam Kessler, John Dini, and David Lindley for very valuable
comments on an earlier draft.
RESTORING WETLANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA )
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... Yet, as a result of the limited evidence base, it is often not clear whether and which types of positive socioeconomic outcomes are actually achieved across different contexts and types of ecological infrastructure investments. This uncertainty has recently led to a growing body of empirical research that assesses outcomes of ecological infrastructure investments on local people living in the areas that the investments target (e.g., Bremer et al., 2016;O'Farrell et al., 2019;Zabala and Sullivan, 2018). This is particularly seen in countries such as South Africa where high priority is afforded to ecological infrastructure investments due to the assumed likelihood of positive outcomes for both poverty alleviation and ecosystem improvements (SANBI, 2014). ...
... Examples include the 15-years national multi-partnership programme for poverty alleviation and wetland restoration 'Working for Wetlands', covering more than 40,000 ha of wetlands. Yet, only few assessments of the programme have been published, with Zabala and Sullivan's (2018) assessment restricted to one wetland area and 22 workers, and Black et al. (2016) analyzing the costeffectiveness of wetland rehabilitation in the Kamiesberg uplands from a landowner's perspective. ...
... The higher frequency of positive employment outcomes in South Africa might be due to several of these cases devoting particular attention to short-term impacts of ecological infrastructure projects instead of more long-term impacts. For example, Zabala and Sullivan (2018) show how a national multi-partnership programme for poverty alleviation and wetland restoration in South Africa (Working for Wetlands) creates short-term jobswhich is considered key in South Africa where unemployment is acute. In 2008, Working for Wetlands had 40 projects throughout South Africa, providing direct employment to almost 2000 people. ...
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... Table 7 lists the three mainstream methods in ES research, which are further classified into different sub-methodologies, including qualitative (case study, interview, focus group, questionnaires and stakeholder engagements), quantitative (mapping, remote sensing and GIS, land-use based and participatory GIS), and transdisciplinary types (mixed methods and multi-criteria decisioning analysis) [52]. Qualitative research has been the dominant research method since it investigates real-life contexts to address a wide range of research questions [53] and has been applied across a number of disciplines, including business, education, health, law, and other social sciences [51]. Focus groups and stakeholder engagement methods are also It should also be noted that most European countries publish extensively on southern African ecosystems (Figure 7). ...
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Investments in the restoration of ecological infrastructure are often promoted as a strategy to achieve win-win outcomes for people and the environment, and often involve the creation of temporary employment. Nevertheless, few studies have attempted to quantify the socio-economic benefits among workers employed across multiple ecological infrastructure programmes. This paper examines how workers involved in ecological infrastructure activities perceive the benefits from their employment, and whether their perceptions of benefits correspond with the objectives of the programmes. The analysis is based on a case study from the Western Cape, South Africa. We carried out a survey with 175 workers employed by 10 different local programmes. The survey was designed to target a broad array of potential benefits including natural, physical, social, financial and human assets, in order to extend beyond simple measures of income and employment. We find that workers primarily see the programme benefits in terms of improved income and short-term employment, while their natural and physical assets are perceived to be affected less. This is in line with the initial objectives of the ecological infrastructure programmes in the Western Cape, since these are not targeting community-based restoration due to the absence of shared community land. Instead, they are designed to pursue poverty alleviation and social development through short-term income opportunities drawing on a public works model. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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The empirical evidence in the papers in this special issue identifies pervasive and difficult cross-scale and cross-level interactions in managing the environment. The complexity of these interactions and the fact that both scholarship and management have only recently begun to address this complexity have provided the impetus for us to present one synthesis of scale and cross-scale dynamics. In doing so, we draw from multiple cases, multiple disciplines, and multiple perspectives. In this synthesis paper, and in the accompanying cases, we hypothesize that the dynamics of cross-scale and cross-level interactions are affected by the interplay between institutions at multiple levels and scales. We suggest that the advent of co-management structures and conscious boundary management that includes knowledge co-production, mediation, translation, and negotiation across scale-related boundaries may facilitate solutions to complex problems that decision makers have historically been unable to solve.
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Abstract Agriculture has received renewed attention in poverty reduction efforts in Africa in recent years, and there are hopes that GM crops could have an important role in helping increase smallholder yields and reduce poverty. Drawing on critical discourse analysis (CDA) and livelihoods perspectives, this thesis examines the ideas governing the Massive Food Production Programme (MFPP), an agricultural development programme aiming to reduce poverty by raising agricultural production in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, and its local effects when implemented in smallholder communities. In particular, the effects of introduction of Bt maize, genetically modified to be resistant to some potentially damaging insects in the region, were studied. The results reveal that the programme was not equipped to support the improvement of smallholders’ livelihoods through agriculture. A core reason was the failure to break with a historically dominant unidirectional view of agricultural development, which was reinforced by a contemporary dominant neoliberal view of development as progress through growth. The programme thereby disregarded the effects of long-term marginalisation on smallholders’ ability to engage in farming, and the associated need for substantial advisory, infrastructure and credit support to increase agricultural productivity. Local strategies for dealing with the effects of poverty were also unacknowledged; and practices and inputs originally developed for large-scale, capitalintensive farming were introduced without adaptation to smallholder conditions. The programme also failed to recognise the local heterogeneity of poverty, resulting in a bias towards comparatively better-off smallholders. The Bt maize variety introduced, like hybrid maize varieties introduced during predemocracy interventions, was not adapted to smallholders’ farming environments. It was input-demanding and sensitive to environmental dynamics, and it was promoted for planting in monoculture. Bans on saving and recycling seed resulting from patents, plant breeders’ rights and new regulations to ensure the biosafety of GM crops were largely incompatible with smallholders’ practices and further undermined strategies for dealing with resource shortage. It is suggested that cheaper, open-pollinated maize varieties, which can be recycled and are more tolerant to low-input conditions, could be better suited to smallholders’ needs and practices.
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Payment for ecosystem services Asia Institution and governance Pro-poor policy Community-based natural resource management Participatory approach a b s t r a c t Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is commonly defined as a market-based environmental policy instrument to efficiently achieve ecosystem services provision. However, an increasing body of literature shows that this prescriptive conceptualization of PES cannot be easily generalized and implemented in practice, and that the commodification of ecosystem services (ES) is problematic and may lead to unfair situations for relevant PES actors. This paper synthesizes case studies in Indonesia, the Philippines and Nepal to provide empirical observations on emerging PES mechanisms in Asia. Lessons learned show that fairness and efficiency objectives must be achieved simultaneously in designing and implementing a sustainable PES scheme, especially in developing country contexts. Neither fairness nor efficiency is a primary aim but an intermediate 'fairly efficient and efficiently fair' PES may bridge the gap between PES theory and practice to increase sustainable ES provision and improve livelihoods. & 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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States have been widely criticized for failing to advance the international climate regime. Many observers now believe that a “new” climate governance is emerging through transnational and/or local forms of action that will eventually plug the resulting governance gaps. Yet states, which remain oddly absent from most discussions of the “new” governance, will remain key players as governance becomes more polycentric. This paper introduces a special issue that explores the ability of states to rise to these interconnected challenges through the analytical prism of policy innovation. It reveals that policy innovation is much more multi-dimensional than is often thought; it encompasses three vital activities: invention (centering on the ‘source’ of new policy elements), diffusion (that produces different ‘patterns’ of policy adoption), and the evaluation of the ‘effects’ that such innovations create in reality. The papers, which range from qualitative case studies to large ‘n’ quantitative studies, offer new insights into the varied roles that states play in relation to all three. They show, for instance that: the policy activity of states has risen dramatically in the past decade; that state innovation is affected to similar degrees by internal and external factors; and that policies that offer flexibility to target groups on how to meet policy goals are most effective but that voluntary reporting requirements are ineffective. This paper draws upon these and many other insights to offer a much more nuanced reflection on the future of climate governance; one that deservedly puts states at the front and center of analysis.
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In recent years, development policy has responded to an increasing concern about natural resource degradation by setting up innovative payment for environmental services (PES) programs in developing countries. PES programs use market and institutional incentives in order to meet both environmental and poverty alleviation objectives. However, their optimal design, implications for the rural poor, and how these initiatives integrate into international treaties on global warming and biodiversity loss are still being discussed. This book addresses these issues by scrutinizing analytical tools, providing policy insights and stimulating debate on linkages between poverty alleviation and environmental protection. In particular, it turns attention towards the role of environmental services in agricultural landscapes as they provide a living for many poor in developing countries. It serves as a valuable reference for academics and students in various disciplines, as well as for policy makers and advisors.
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It is commonly assumed that better living standards will boost subjective well-being. The post-apartheid South African government subscribes to this idea; its social policies aim to provide ‘a better life for all’. Since the coming of democracy in 1994, the state has built over 3 million houses and supplied electricity and clean water to poor households. By 2009, an estimated 43 % of households were beneficiaries of social grants. The question is whether this investment in services and social assistance translates into higher well-being of citizens. It is argued that older people’s experience of positive change in their life circumstances can be taken as a litmus test of progress in society. The paper reports results of a sample survey conducted in 2009 that inquired into the living circumstances and well-being of 1,000 older low-income households in two provinces linked by a labour migration route. Older households were defined as ones with a member 55 years and older. The sample was drawn among three approximately equal-sized subgroups: Rural black households in the former ‘homelands’ of the Eastern Cape Province, and black and coloured households in Cape Town in the Western Cape Province. The majority of the households in the survey had been interviewed in an earlier survey conducted in late 2002. Both material and non-material changes had occurred in the household situation over the 6-year period between 2002 and 2009. Access to housing and infrastructure had improved but financial difficulties and debts continued to plague many of the surveyed households. Rural black households appeared to be worst off among the three categories of older households with the lowest level of living; coloured households best situated with the highest level of living. Urban black households, many of whom were immigrants to Cape Town, appeared to have experienced the greatest fluctuations in their material circumstances between 2002 and 2009 and a mix of fortune and misfortune. Results indicated that social grants, which provided a modicum of financial security and peace of mind, made the crucial difference between fortune and misfortune for vulnerable households. Securing a social pension and other grants appeared to be the main route to good fortune for the rural households in the study. Households in Cape Town required wage income in addition to grant income to get by in the city. This mix of income sources diluted urban households’ dependence on social assistance. Regression model results suggest that income and financial security play a significantly more important role in boosting the well-being of low-income older households than access to services. Pooling of income, a common practice in pensioner households, contributed significantly to household satisfaction.