Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA)  is an international research programme providing evidence of how ecosystem services can support well-being and sustainable poverty alleviation among poor people in low-income countries. Our projects are interdisciplinary, linking the social, natural and political sciences to address a series of focused research questions and evidence challenges. They are delivered through collaborative partnerships involving the world’s best researchers from developing and developed countries. ESPA’s success will be measured by the way that its research can be turned into results that benefit the poor.

Please click here for the full ESPA vision statement

The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), as part of the UK’s Living with Environmental Change Programme (LWEC).



The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK's main agency for funding and managing world-class research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more. NERC receives around £300m a year from the government's science budget, which it uses to fund independent research and training in universities and its own research centres.



The Department for International Development (DFID) is a United Kingdom Government Department with a Cabinet Minister in charge. It was separated from the Foreign Commonwealth Office in 1997. The goal of the department is "to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty"

As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, DFID works to support the United Nations eight Millenium Development Goals, namely to: i) halve the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger; ii) ensure that all children receive primary education; iii) promote sexual equality and give women a stronger voice; iv) reduce child death rates; v) improve the health of mothers; vi) combat HIV & AIDS, malaria and other diseases; vii) make sure the environment is protected and viii) build a global partnership for those working in development. 


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. We support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. Our total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time we support over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes