ESPA is a global interdisciplinary research programme that aims to give decision-makers and natural resource users the evidence they need to address the challenges of sustainable ecosystem management and poverty reduction. The programme was developed by the UK government in response to the findings of the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that substantial gains in human well-being in recent decades have been achieved at the expense of high and often irreversible levels of ecosystem degradation.
ESPA’s key objectives are:
- To create a strong research and evidence base on the connections among ecosystem services, their dynamics and management, human use and pathways to sustainable poverty reduction; this includes climate change adaptation and resilience;
- To develop innovative, interdisciplinary research and methodologies, delivering tools and approaches that enable decision-makers to simulate and predict socio-ecological responses to complex social and economic trends;
- To engage and communicate effectively with policy makers, practitioners and decision makers so that ESPA’s research is well understood and used;
- To enhance the capacity of researchers in the global South to conduct, lead, use and communicate high quality ESPA-type interdisciplinary research, including through effective international research partnerships.