Livelihoods and ecosystems
The theme ‘Livelihoods and Ecosystems’ lies at the heart of the mission of the Ecosystem Alliance (EA) and directly deals with the links between poverty and ecosystem management. The EA has a broad vision on poverty, beyond the narrow definition of lack of income, and approaches poverty reduction from three angles:
- building livelihood assets in the form of natural, physical, social, financial and legal ‘capital’.
- empowerment, in terms of strengthening the role of communities in decision making and securing community rights in relation to land tenure and access to natural resources.
- reducing vulnerability to the consequences of ecosystem degradation.
The Learning Agenda for this theme focuses on the participatory planning and management of land and resource use, river basins and ecosystems, in ways that help reduce poverty in this broader sense. Special attention is given to the approaches that CSOs use to ensure the voice and rights of local communities, and to strengthen their negotiation position in multi-stakeholder processes. A good example of such a process is formal land use planning by government agencies, including protected areas. But the EA also supports community-based mechanisms for land use and water resource planning, for example traditional mechanisms that evolved outside formal frameworks and recent initiatives such as community-conserved protected areas.