South Asia is facing rapid and large scale changes in terms of social, environmental, and economic development with persistent challenges related to ecosystem degradation and increased poverty in the region. Solutions across spatial scales are needed to deal with complexity and uncertainty in order to deliver benefits to people and ecosystems. In this context, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the United Kingdom’s Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, together with Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Environment, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Implementation Centre, conducted a ‘Regional Symposium on Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation’ on 13–14 March 2018 in Kathmandu. The symposium highlighted the critical role of ecosystem interactions across spatial scales in delivering services, particularly to the poor who are highly dependent on natural resources. It further showcased potential ecosystem services (ES) governance pathways to achieving wellbeing for the poorest, and environmental sustainability through research and knowledge programmes in South Asia.