Water ecosystem services and poverty reduction under climate change

IIED led a project to scope a research programme on freshwater ecosystem services and poverty reduction in the context of climate change and other drivers of change.

2007 - 2009
James Mayers

Director, Natural Resources

Freshwater ecosystem services – the benefits obtained by people from rivers, swamps, floodplains and groundwater systems – are central to human wellbeing. But these ecosystems are being degraded, water problems are increasing, and the poor are being hit hardest. Climate change is likely to worsen these problems.

Many promising solutions to water ecosystem problems exist. In many cases, these solutions appear to be dependent on governance – the range of issues associated with how decisions are made about water ecosystem services.

This scoping study addressed where and how research can help provide solutions by:

  • Consulting with international stakeholders, in person and through a web-based survey
  • Drawing out key information from literature, particularly to identify gaps in knowledge, and
  • Carrying out policy and practice analyses in developing countries.

Recommendations from the project were published in an issue paper. They included a suggestion for donor DFID to consider structuring a research programme to address the findings of the research to enable context-specific research on these issues to be identified and pursued.