Marine Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation

1st July 2020
Author: Sophie Plagerson

The scope of the relationship between marine biodiversity and poverty is very significant. The relationship between marine biodiversity and poverty is complex, context-specific and dynamic. Poverty (or factors associated with poverty) can lead to both conservation and biodegradation, but they play a relatively small role in both these processes. Marine biodiversity can create poverty traps (for example where higher value resources are captured by more powerful non-poor groups) but primarily supports the livelihoods of millions of coastal populations. Small island developing states face particular challenges in accessing the benefits of biodiversity. Marine interventions increasingly seek to achieve socioeconomic outcomes, though these may be simplistically defined. Stakeholder participation, types of programme governance, implementation processes, spatial planning and appropriate use of technology are key components of programmes in order to ensure poverty alleviation impacts. The Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a major disrupter with pervasive effects on livelihoods as well as marine ecosystems.

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Suggested Citation

Plagerson, S. (2020). Marine biodiversity and poverty alleviation. K4D Helpdesk Report 843. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


1st July 2020


Continent: Global