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Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change

In line with our commitment to sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals, we seek to balance the urgent need to improve water supply, sanitation and resource management for the world's poor with the need to conserve natural resources and protect biodiversity for future generations. We manage the DFID Livelihoods Resource Centre and are the consortium member responsible for monitoring UK and Ireland projects on the EU-funded LIFE Programme.  These programmes address a wide range of issues in environmental protection, natural resources and climate change adaptation, with projects in the UK, Europe and the developing world.

Natural resources provide the basis of life on this planet, and 70 per cent of the world’s poorest people are directly dependent upon them for their livelihoods.  With an increasing global population, greater demand for existing natural resources, declining biodiversity and human-induced climate change, the need for sustainable environmental management and development policies has never been greater.  If we are to achieve the overarching Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015, a key question is how can pressure on natural resources be managed to ensure the long-term sustainability of ecosystems? 

To support the effective management of natural resources, HTSPE’s approach has a strong focus on governance.  While understanding the role of markets, we also recognise the need to balance this with collaborative action between government, civil society and community groups. 

Key issues that we seek to address through our work include:

  • Who gets access to and control over natural resources? e.g. women, extreme poor, community groups
  • How can poor people access markets for natural resource products?
  • How to balance livelihood needs (exploitation) against conservation requirements?
  • What governance arrangements best support pro-poor approaches to natural resource management?
  • How to limit the impact of climate change through both mitigation and adaptation? 
  • Many resources such as fisheries do not conform to national boundaries – how to achieve effective international collaboration for sustainable resource management?

In addition, we encourage sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in all our work, integrating environmental considerations into programme design, management and implementation – for example, encouraging the use of low-carbon technologies and video conferencing. 

We have worked with the full range of natural resources and environments including forestry, water, fisheries, wildlife, land and soils.

The scope of our services includes:

  • Environmental assessment. We work closely with all stakeholders to establish profiles of existing resources and to select sustainable management regimes. High-quality data management is critical, using the latest techniques for collection, analysis and dissemination.
  • Policy and planning. HTSPE advises governments and other institutions on developing environmental policy and legislation. Public consultation, environmental education and climate change adaptation policy are key services.
  • Institutional development. By working with user groups to develop institutions for local level resource management, as well as with governments, we build mechanisms for collaborative action. 
  • Programme management and project performance assessment. Using our expertise in environmental management and project management, we provide services in programme and fund management and in performance monitoring and evaluation.
  • Conservation and Protected Area management. The establishment of Protected Area status raises difficult choices, both social and environmental. We help stakeholders to select an appropriate model, whether controlled multiple use or as a wilderness, scientific or biosphere reserve. We have worked on the management of buffer zones for internationally important reserves since 1980.
  • Biodiversity management. We have been conducting biodiversity studies in the terrestrial, freshwater and marine sectors since the early 1950s. We specialise in the analysis of complete ecological systems and in monitoring changes in the patterns of biodiversity. 

Europe: Technical Assistance related to the EU LIFE Programme

HTSPE is a member of the Astrale consortium of nine European partners that has been monitoring the LIFE Environment programme since 2001. LIFE, the Financial Instrument for the Environment, is one of the spearheads of the European Union's environmental policy. The projects cover a wide scope and LIFE is the EU’s primary instrument to support environmental and conservation projects in the EU, applicant countries and neighbouring states.

HTSPE has specific responsibility for supporting and monitoring LIFE projects in the UK and Ireland and is responsible for the following tasks:

  • supporting projects through all stages of the project cycle;
  • monitoring and evaluating project performance and deliverables;
  • promoting geographic and thematic networking; and
  • disseminating lessons learned and success stories.

Global: Natural Resources Systems Programme

The Natural Resources Systems Programme was established to undertake research on the integrated management of natural resources in order to deliver new knowledge to enable poor people, who are largely dependent on natural resources, to improve their livelihoods.

The programme’s research covered three inter-related fields:

  • the natural resource base itself;
  • the integrated and dynamic nature of the poor people’s livelihood strategies and how these affect their decision-making and capacity to use and manage the NR-base; and
  • the institutional environment in which NR management strategies are designed and implemented.

NRSP’s research was implemented as grant contract projects that were undertaken by government, non-government and private institutions.

HTSPE was responsible for the UK-based programme management unit and established and maintained effective managerial, administrative, logistical and financial structures and procedures. Activities based on the research project cycle included:

  • reviewing and commissioning research proposals;
  • monitoring, reviewing and reporting on the extensive research portfolio including cross-cutting synthesis papers;
  • preparing quality assurance procedures including impact assessment studies;
  • creating and maintaining databases and library facilities for NRSP research outputs; and
  • disseminating research outputs to local, national and international audiences.

Tanzania : Designing Independent Forest Monitoring

Illegal logging is a persistent problem in many developing countries, depleting the natural resource base, diverting revenues from local communities and often causing significant damage to forests and protected areas.

Following the release of the TRAFFIC report on illegal logging in Tanzania in May 2007, HTSPE designed, on behalf of the Royal Danish Government, a programme of Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) in close liason with the Tanzania Forest Working Group and the Director of Forestry and Beekeeping Division (FBD).

Through the design process, a framework agreement on the objectives and scope of IFM was devised, including the institutional roles and responsibilities (both governmental and NGO and within the donor community to ensure ongoing support to the inititative).

Global : Protected Areas Management and Capacity Building in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries

While establishing protected areas is an important step towards improving the long-term conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable management of these areas and the land adjacent to them is equally important for the long-term protection of these areas. Part of this management is ensuring that there is adequate data at national and regional level to facilitate decision-making at national level and to help knowledge and lesson-learning to be exchanged at regional level.

The European Union is assisting member countries of the AU, CARIFORUM and SPC in the creation of Centres for Protected Areas and Biodiversity (CPAB). These centres will deliver improved access to data and scientific information on biodiversity as well as the strengthening of capacities and networks in this field.

HTSPE was responsible for the formulation of the project documents for both the creation of regional centres for protected areas and the long-term operational access to data to improve the governance of protected areas.

Ecuador: Integrated Development of the River Paute Basin

This EC-funded project contributed to the reduction of poverty, the slowing of environmental decline and the improvement of living conditions for the population of the Paute River Basin area.

Through the framework of the Basin Master Plan, this four-year project aimed to create a viable socio-economic process in the rural areas through the introduction of sustainable production practices and the improvement of social services, and by lessening the vulnerability towards hydro-geological risks.

HTSPE provided support in “key development” activities, including:

  • Training rural communities in agriculture/livestock production, environment, SMEs and other fields of activity.
  • Rehabilitation and construction of physical and social infrastructures.
  • Monitoring and control of hydrogeological risk.
  • Training of staff and environmental public awareness.
  • Technical assistance and support to the “Paute Basin Authority”.
  • Compiling technical and socio-economic information for the Basin area and assessment of the Basin’s development potential.
  • Implementation of health programmes and rehabilitation/construction of rural clinics and health centres.
  • Monitoring and evaluation to measure the impact of the project within the target population and Basin area.
  • Supporting the initiatives of the local population groups in co-financing small-scale socio-economic projects.

See more details in the links below.

To view more detail or additional projects please click on the links below:

Integrated Development of the River Paute Basin
Framework Contract Lot 1 – Rural Development
Livelihoods Resource Centre Framework Contract
Technical Support  to the EU LIFE Programme
Framework Contract BENEF Lot 6 - Environment
Water Resources Demand Management Assistance Project

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HTSPE Limited
Thamesfield House
Boundary Way
Hemel Hempstead
Hertfordshire HP2 7SR
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1442 202 400
F: +44 (0)1442 266 438
E: info@htspe.com