Protecting the nature and related ecosystem services

Efforts to improve food and nutrition security often result in increased pressure on natural resources. Therefore, beyond our commitment towards ensuring better livelihoods for vulnerable communities, we also prioritise creating and safeguarding a sustainable environment. Natural resources provide the local communities with crucial goods and services referred to as ecosystem services. Most of these services, especially the regulating ones, are irreplaceable and crucial for food production systems but had been constantly overlooked.

For the coming years, ACED will contribute to the recognition and valuation of local ecosystem services to ensure their influence on food systems is improved. For effective and long-lasting impact, our work will be focus on the science, policy and practice nexus.

Improving the knowledge base of ecosystem services. The science of ecosystem services is relatively recent (20 years). In Africa and especially in Benin the concept is still new, and little is known about its dimensions as well as the methodological approaches for assessing and measuring the services delivered by ecosystems. We will collaborate with leading institutions on this issue[1] to develop and/or reinforce capacities of researchers to stimulate further study on the capacity, value and resilience of terrestrial and marine ecosystems in Benin. Our interventions will include (i) the organization of short trainings on tools and practical guidelines for measuring and assessing ecosystem services, (ii) support to research institutions for designing short-term programmes on ecosystem services and (iii) the provision of small research grants.

Stimulating the mainstreaming of an ecosystem services approach into planning and decision-making for sustainable ecosystem management. Linking scientific information on ecosystem services with decision-making is the best strategy to guarantee awareness and effective conservation policies. However, beyond the lack of information and evidence on ecosystem services, limited technical capacities and non-conducive conditions prevent the development of informed policy decisions. Our intervention aims to fix these issues by (i) building the capacities of policymakers in ecosystem management, and (ii) providing technical assistance during planning process related to ecosystem management.

[1] Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), Commission on Ecosystem Management thematic group on Ecosystem Services (CEM/ES), Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP).