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Climate-smart people-centred conservation: a new framework for socially-just conservation in a changing climate

Dilys Roe


WWF Briefing

WWF-UK, through its portfolio of programmes supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) has pioneered an approach to conservation which has dual climate change and human wellbeing objectives – an approach it termed “climate-smart, pro-poor conservation”. Working with WWF-UK, IIED started by developing an analytical framework for “climate-smart pro-poor conservation” to help the different programmes reflect on the relative emphasis they placed on different climate-smart and pro-poor principles and the extent to which they combined the two approaches.

A process of mapping, workshopping and reflection highlighted strengths and weaknesses associated with the framework – not least the fact that some countries and/or programmes reject the term “pro-poor” for various political or ideological reasons. Based on learning from this exercise a revised framework has been developed which makes a clear distinction between substantive and procedural principles, and between those that reflect a “do no harm” approach and those that actively strive to “do good”.

While there is little new in the individual climate-smart, people-centred and cross-cutting principles that have been identified, assembling them into one comprehensive, integrated framework is a new development that should help advance conservation programming by stimulating debate, and by providing a practical tool for reflecting on core objectives and ensuring alignment of programming strategies with these objectives and organisational policies. Learning from this experience, and making informed choices about principles that might have been over-looked or under-emphasised in the past can thereby help to strengthen programme design and implementation.

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