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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: Integrating poverty and environment measures

Currently Active: 

This research program aims to an impact on the ways in which poverty and human wellbeing are understood and defined, especially in relation to ongoing discussions about the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The Universities of Cambridge and Southampton and the UN Environment World Monitoring Centre are collaborating with various partners in the UK and overseas to further this work.

Related research groups

Environmental Change and Sustainability (ECaS)

The program works at three levels:

  1.  Conceptual, in shifting the ways in which the relationship between ecosystem services and wellbeing and poverty is defined and understood
    Can ecosystem services be seen as a missing dimension of the way in which multidimensional poverty is defined? Are natural and environmental resources linked to a person's inability to meet the minimum internationally comparable standards in the core elements that are necessary for human flourishing? Our paper in Sustainable Development discusses different existing poverty frameworks and suggests that inclusion of an environmental dimension in multidimensional poverty measures is conceptually robust in some areas.
  2.  Methodological, in developing techniques and protocols to measure and understand poverty and environmental sustainability;
    Can existing (secondary) data, such as household survey and remote sensing data, be used to understand multidimensional wellbeing as the use of, and dependence on, flows from natural ecosystems? We are developing a focus group protocol to identify environmental factors that are instrumental or constituent to wellbeing as expressed by those people whose wellbeing is assessed, through work in Rwanda and Malawi. We are also working on existing datasets for Brazil to develop environmentally sensitive poverty statistics.
  3. At the policy level, by contributing to the definition of international goals for human society in the twenty-first century, and associated targets to guide decision makers operating across a variety of spatial and temporal scales.


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