The impact of UK overseas aid on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation

Supplementary written evidence submitted by WWF-UK

1. Introduction

This document provides the additional information from WWF-UK in response to committee members’ requests during the oral evidence session on the 9th of March 2011. It is also in addition to the written evidence from WWF-UK, submitted December 2010.

The evidence to the committee to date suggests that DFID has made progress since the 2006 EAC review, which was critical of DFID’s performance on environment. In particular DFID should be applauded for its prioritisation of climate change. However, we would suggest that there remains a tension between climate change and wider environment issues. Climate change is not synonymous with the environment and we remain concerned that the focus on climate change has been at a cost to wider environmental considerations. Expertise and capacity remains a key constraint on DFID’s work on environment issues, for example forests, agriculture, water resources and marine resources.

The question of mainstreaming environment remains pertinent and we have yet to see demonstrable evidence that environment issues are embedded into policy, projects, programmes and the planning cycle in DFID.

We welcome DFID’s new transparency guarantee and would like to see DFID extending transparency to the new climate and environment screening processes. For example it is difficult to comment on the new climate and environment assessment processes as there has been neither consultation nor have the procedures been made available. We would also seek transparency in the allocation and accounting of the £2.9 billion made available by the UK government for climate change. Our experience with the Environmental Transformation Fund has shown how difficult it can be for civil society and the public to track such funds, particularly when funding announcements are unclear or repeat earlier allocations.

2. What proportion of global poverty depends on ecosystem service degradation?

In the evidence session on the 9th of March Zac Goldsmith MP asked "if we thought it was possible to quantify how much base poverty in the world results specifically from ecosystems damage". Key references on the links between poverty and ecosystems at a global scale include the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) which estimates that over 62% of ecosystem services are degraded, with natural resources critical for livelihood security for the world’s poorest in rapid decline. [1]

The World Resources Institute (2008) [2] "Three-quarters of the world’s poorest citizens- those living on less than $2 per day-are dependent on the environment for a significant part of their daily livelihoods. Climate change, therefore, adds a real urgency to the efforts of the many institutions that work to improve the lives of the poor." …"Nature is an essential yet elusive asset for the world’s poor"

The World Resources Institute (2005) Natural resources are critical assets for the poor that can potentially reduce vulnerability and help households move out of poverty. [3]

TEEB (2008 - 2010) livelihoods most directly affected by the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity are subsistence farming, animal husbandry, fishing and informal forestry, all of which are key livelihoods for the world’s poor. [4]

We are not however aware of any data which quantifies the degree of poverty directly dependant on ecosystem damage. We would suggest that DFID’s ESPA programme (Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation) which is run jointly with NERC and ESRC might be able to respond to this question, indeed, the committee may want to suggest that ESPA specifically looks at this issue. See ESPA – referenced in the DFID written submission.

2. It would be useful if you could submit something demonstrating that investments in governance can lead to change.

FLEGT: DFID has played a leading role in the Forest Law and Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan, where progress and success have been through engagement on supply and demand chains and on legislation. This success was highlighted in a report by Chatham Housev which provided evidence of progress on tackling the trade in illegal timber. This approach might be appropriate for other sectors such as fishing.

Investment in Water Governance: Through DFID’s PPA with WWF, over a ten-year period we have worked to improve governance and management of the River Waseges in Kenya which flows into Lake Bogoria, one of the iconic Rift Valley flamingo lakes. As a result of land use change and increasing population, the river flows had declined and the lake degraded with adverse impacts on the ecosystem and its biodiversity. Moreover, conflicts had arisen between upstream and downstream water users. With DFID’s support, WWF played a role in establishing a system of Village Environmental Planning Committees (VECs) with elected representatives and, in accordance with the 2002 Kenyan Water Act, a Water Resources Users Association (WRUA) for the entire lake catchment. The formation of these bodies encouraged dialogue between local communities and the two County Councils and resulted in an agreement over revenue sharing of entrance fees to Lake Bogoria. With exchange visits between upstream and downstream communities and the provision of technical support, this led to a reduction in conflicts over water resources in the area. An evaluation of this project concluded, "this represents an achievement of monumental proportions in the history of water management in Kenya. During the 2007 post-election conflicts, which rocked the whole country, the Waseges Basin, despite its ethnic composition and a recent history of earlier resource conflicts, was one of the few places where rival ethnic groups did not go to war." The newly-created Water Resource Management Agency in Kenya plans to use the Lake Bogoria management model in other catchments. Encouraged by revenue sharing arrangements, the Sandai Community near Lake Bogoria has demonstrated its renewed interest in conservation and set aside 10,000hectares as a game sanctuary, particularly for the recovery of the Greater Kudu. The neighbouring Njemps have added more land, effectively doubling the size of the sanctuary. There are indications that populations of Greater Kudu, which alongside lesser flamingos are indicators of habitat quality, are increasing in the park.

3. Dr. Caroline Lucas MP raised the question of additionality of climate change funding.

Key arguments for why climate change funding should be additional to ODA include:

1. The emissions causing climate change are almost exclusively caused by developed countries but it is developing countries that are hit hardest by climate change impacts.

2. Climate change is an additional pressure on the health services, infrastructure and ecosystems in developing countries. Additional costs are required to adapt above and beyond current ODA.

3. Diverting ODA from mainstream development issues to deal with climate impacts will lead potentially to reduced funds for development priorities such as the MDGs.

However delivery mechanisms and channels for climate issues should be closely linked to ODA and all ODA should now be 'climate smart' for more information see

4. Can you provide further information on where you think the gaps are in terms of the expertise and knowledge? Are there any other areas within DFID where perhaps there is an overlap?

As highlighted in our written evidence to the committee, a key constraint in DFID in relation to rural development, agriculture, environment and forests, is maintaining an adequate core base of expertise on natural resource issues.

For natural resources and climate change, experienced and specialist staff are invaluable. DFID appears however to be relying on internal staff transfers to fill specialised positions with non specialised staff. One example of concern to us is the forests adviser post which focuses on Africa; this post has been vacant for over a year, despite the £50 million allocation for the Congo Basin Forest Fund, as part of REDD+ fast-start funds. We would argue for adequate expertise in Palace Street and in country offices to ensure these funds are used effectively.

DFID has no capacity on biodiversity issues in the environment policy team which is a concern given the relevance of the Convention on Biological Diversity to poverty reduction. There has also been an erosion of capacity on agriculture in recent years. Similarly fisheries is a particular area where DFID lacks capacity and expertise which, given the importance of the fisheries sector to the lives and livelihoods of poor people, is a cause for concern. WWF believes there is a need to maintain, and in some areas rebuild, expertise if DFID is going to meet its commitments.

WWF understands DFID’s water team is to be primarily focused on water supply and sanitation, leaving just one post addressing water resources. Water supply and sanitation is, of course, important, however, expertise on water resources is essential. As Sir John Beddington has made clear through his "perfect storm" scenariov, sustainable management of water resources is critical to addressing climate adaptation, agriculture and food security, energy security, wealth creation and maintenance of many ecosystem services such inland fisheries, flood management and transport.

We would also suggest that capacity in country on climate change and environment is essential for effective delivery of DFID’s programme.

[1] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis . Island Press, Washington, DC, USA.

[2] World Resources Institute (2008) Roots of Resilience-Growing the Wealth of the Poor. Washington, DC.

[3] World Resources Institute (2005) The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty,

[4] EC (2008) The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB): Interim Report

[4] v Il l egal Logging and Related Trade: Ind icators of the Global Response f o/uploads/CHillegalloggingpaperwebready1.pdf

[4] Vi Since 2008 Sir John Beddington - the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser - has been promoting the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, gaining considerable media attention and raising this as a priority in the UK and internationally. see for example



[4] 7 April 2011