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Close to Home : UK poverty and the economic downturn

October 29, 2010

The UK is in recession, and things stand to get much worse for the fifth of the population already living in poverty, and for the millions more whose livelihoods will become more vulnerable as a result. The UK government has recognised its responsibility to help people through the recession, but needs to do more to help the poorest, and to provide security for all. As importantly, policy makers need to take the opportunity that the recession provides to rethink many of the policies of the past decades. This paper sets out a pro-poor policy response to the recession that lays down the foundations for a more equitable, sustainable society. It argues that government action should be based upon a long-term vision of moving to a society based on sustainability, with good quality jobs that allow people to have a more secure livelihood, but also backed up by a welfare state safety net which neither traps people nor leaves them living in poverty.

Fair Deals for Watershed Services: Lessons from a Multi-country Action-learning Project

January 1, 2010

Payments for ecosystem services make good sense. In the case of watershed ecosystems, downstream beneficiaries of wise upstream land and water stewardship should compensate these upstream stewards. These 'payments for watershed services' (PWS) should contribute to the costs of watershed management and, if upstream communities are also characterised by poverty, these payments should contribute to local development and poverty reduction as well. Debates about both conservation and development have seen a wave of excitement about payments for watershed services in recent years. But on the ground an equivalent surge of action is harder to see. IIED and its partners have been building on earlier international case study work to set up new PWS schemes - to 'learn by doing' and to improve our understanding of the opportunities and the challenges.This report is about the complex business of trying to put a simple conservation and development idea into practice. The idea is that watershed degradation in developing countries might be better tackled than it currently is if downstream beneficiaries of wise land use in watershed areas paid for these benefits. There are some examples around the world of this idea being put into practice - this report reviews these and describes what happened when teams in six developing countries set about exploring how the idea works on the ground.