Livelihoods and the environment at Important Bird Areas: Listening to local voices (2006)

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This document provides a synthesis of key findings from 14 "Participatory Poverty Assessments" (PPAs) carried out by BirdLife Partners from Africa, the Americas and Asia, to gauge environment-livelihoods linkages. It aims to share experiences, and support lesson-learning within the BirdLife International Partnership, while also catering to a wider audience dealing with development, biodiversity, conservation and livelihoods issues. The report came up with the following key findings:
  • Understanding the nature of people’s needs with reference to their use of the environment and their responsibilities to the environment can help maximise the benefits from conservation, for both the poor and conservation;
  • Communities use the following to classify poverty: economic and asset status; culture and ethnicity; and domestic circumstances;
  • Poverty among communities in Important Bird Areas (IBAs) was found to manifest itself in many ways;
  • The resources and services of IBAs are a very important part of people’s livelihoods;
  • The use and benefits of IBAs (especially from services such as watershed protection) were spread across all members of the community;
  • Poverty alleviation can be achieved by offering support to sustainable development initiatives for those who rely on IBAs;
  • Natural resources of IBAs offer a buffer to communities during extreme climate events;
  • Strong local, democratic institutions are important for creating decision-making structures for the use of natural resources;
  • Many communities identified conservation and resource management as important elements of poverty reduction strategies.
In view of the above findings, the paper concludes with the following lessons that have been learnt:
  • Poverty is multi-dimensional;
  • There are strong links between the livelihoods of the poor and the environment, but these are often poorly understood;
  • The environment resources of IBAs help reduce vulnerability and assist coping in times of stress;
  • It is important to influence the policy processes which determine development strategies;
  • Institutions for resource management and decision making act at several levels (local, national, global) and measures that influence decision making needs to reflect this;
  • Effective partnerships are needed to meet the challenges of integrating conservation with livelihoods and poverty reduction.
Language: English
Imprint: Bird Life International: http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2007/01/listening_to_local_voices_IBAs.pdf. Eldis: http://www.eldis.org/go/topics/resource-guides/environment&amp;id=31555&amp;type=Document<br /> </span> 2006
Series: Report,