Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) and the Social Wellbeing of Fishers

Published on 1 January 2009

Paper prepared for ESPA Workshop 1

4th April 2009, Institute for Ocean Management, Chennai, India

Project: Building Capacity for Sustainable Governance in South Asian Fisheries: Poverty, Wellbeing and Deliberative Policy Networks

The full title of this project is ‘Building Capacity for Sustainable Governance in South Asian Fisheries: Poverty, Wellbeing and Deliberative Policy Networks’ which has been shortened to ‘Building Sustainable Governance’ (BSG). It is a pilot project funded by the ESPA programme managed by the UK NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) and it runs for one year between February 2009 and February 2010. The purpose of the BSG is to bring together a range of scientific, policy and political actors involved in the fisheries sector in South Asia to explore the extent to which they are able, and interested, to participate in deliberative policy networks. It is intended that these networks will seek to generate and direct a future programme of research and capacity building in an effort to advance new forms of policy and management solution in fisheries which accommodate conflicts between ecosystem sustainability and poverty alleviation objectives. The project involves three workshops to explore the feasibility of establishing deliberative policy networks in Sri Lanka and South India. The project draws from two emergent bodies of research experience: work on Wellbeing in developing countries (McGregor 2004, Gough and McGregor 2007) and Interactive Governance in fisheries (Kooiman and Bavinck et al 2005).

Key messages

  • The NERC – ESRC – DFID funded Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme addresses how to achieve sustainably managed ecosystems, whilst contributing to poverty reduction and wellbeing improvements in developing countries.
  • The ESPA programme is supported by 6 regional and sector situation analyses: the Marine and Coastal Situation Analysis includes recommendations for improved use and management of knowledge and identifies several knowledge gaps suggesting priority research topics.
  • This project aims to build capacity for deliberative policy networks which will seek to advance new forms of governance, centred on the concept of human wellbeing, to better accommodate the agendas of ecosystem health and poverty alleviation within South Asian fisheries.
  • The project will facilitate 3 workshops to be held in South India and Sri Lanka, where conflicts between poverty alleviation and conservation of fisheries are currently evident. Outputs will include an agreed strategy for further research, a complete research proposal for submission to the ESPA programme, and improved capacity to carry out research with high policy impact.

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