Department of Geography and Environment and Grantham Research Institute public lecture

Introduced and chaired by Professor Giles Atkinson

When and how do ecosystem services contribute to poverty alleviation in developing countries?  The UK’s Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA) is a global research programme funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.  In the decade since the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ESPA’s projects working in over 50 countries are providing many examples ecosystem services contributing to poverty alleviation in developing countries but it remains a challenge to have a consistent message of when and how this happens.

EPSA’s Director, Professor Paul van Gardingen will illustrate current understanding about the links between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation using examples from ESPA projects from the African, South Asian and South American regions. The discussion will then progress to consider three key questions emerging from current ESPA research:

  • Distribution of Benefits: What needs to happen to ensure that poor people gain an equitable share of benefits from ecosystem services?
  • Scaling up: How can small scale examples be scaled up from single communities to benefit many more people locally, regionally and internationally?
  • How can we make an economic (business) case for investing in ecosystem services for poverty alleviation?

These points will then lead into a discussion of potential to use lessons from ESPA to inform future research and development activities under the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals.

Paul van Gardingen (@espa_director) is UNESCO Chair of International Development at the University of Edinburgh and Director, Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme.

Giles Atkinson is Professor of Environmental Policy, Department of Geography & Environment, LSE.

The LSE Department of Geography & Environment (@LSEGeography) is a centre of international academic excellence in economic, urban and development geography, environmental social science and climate change.

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (@GRI_LSE) is a research centre at LSE. The Institute’s research looks at the economics of climate change, and aims to inform policy and academic debate.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEecosystem

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at or 0207 955 6043.

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Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation

The video of this event is available here.

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