Regional Symposium on Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in South Asia

Tackling Poverty in a Rapidly Changing World: Practical approaches to improving human well-being and natural resources


South Asia faces the challenge of tackling persistent poverty at a time of rapid and large-scale changes in social, environmental, and economic conditions. Governance and management approaches across spatial scales that can deal with complexity and uncertainty in order to deliver benefits to both people and the natural resources they depend on are therefore required.

Over the past eight years, the global, interdisciplinary Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research programme has set out to provide the evidence that decision-makers and natural resource users need to deal with this challenge. The result has been the production of a range of decision-support and management tools and frameworks that allow optimal choices to be identified between otherwise, ‘hidden’ trade-offs.

At the same time, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been working with partners across the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and beyond to develop programmes and share knowledge to enable sustainable and resilient mountain development for improved and equitable livelihoods.

To share and inform stakeholders of more effective approaches to some of the most pressing issues in ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in the region, ESPA and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in close collaboration with the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, will bring regional and global researchers together in Kathmandu.

Through presentations and group discussions, policy-makers, researchers and practitioners will explore the question: Could smart upstream-downstream management of natural resources—from mountains to deltas—hold the key to environmentally sustainable and equitable development for South Asia? 

Sessions will be arranged by thematic area and include:

New insights into the links between ecosystems, poverty, and wellbeing

  • How can a richer conceptual and quantitative understanding of the multiple dimensions of ecosystem services and human wellbeing—within political contexts—inform policy interventions to alleviate poverty?

Governance, policy, and institutions

  • Case studies of how policies and institutional arrangements can be designed to provide effective governance for the stewardship of natural resources in South Asia.

Complexity and social change

  • Tools and insights for dealing with complexity in the interactions between changing ecosystems and human migration.

Valuation of ecosystem services

  • Exploring and connecting different approaches to assessing value in ecosystems

Rewarding environmental stewardship

  • Learning from the latest experience on how to design and scale up governance schemes that incentivize and compensate local people for environmental stewardship

Achieving development impact through research 

  • Sharing lessons learned from the ESPA programme and individual case studies on how to design research programmes and the co-generation of knowledge in ways that achieve greater development impact.

Event Photos