Thursday, 10 February 2011

Helping solve the global ocean crisis: incentive-based approaches

Conservation International is pleased to announce the release of a guidebook and two policy briefs that offer contributions to solutions for the global ocean crisis. Conservation practitioners increasingly are turning to incentive-based approaches to encourage local resource users to change behaviors that impact biodiversity and natural habitat. Drawing on twenty-seven cases from around the world, the guidebook considers various
aspects of economic incentives, such as:

· Addressing the opportunity cost of conservation—offsetting potential loss of income and access to resources to ensure that local stakeholders are not forced to bear an undue economic burden as a result of conservation.

· Enforcing laws and regulations necessary for conservation success—the sources of threats to the resource base determines the balance of incentives and enforcement in successful project design.

· Combining features of different incentive-based approaches (i.e., buyouts, conservation agreements, and alternative livelihood initiatives) can remove harvest capacity to reduce pressure on resources, provide ongoing incentives to ensure long-term compliance, and create new, non-destructive economic options for income generation.

In addition, the cultural roles policy brief focuses on indigenous peoples, often overlooked in socioeconomic research, from four countries—Belize, Brazil, Fiji, and Panama. Three points that emerge from the cross-country analyses include:

· There is a wealth of traditional knowledge that guides customary practices, which needs to be identified and integrated into the formal regime of marine managed areas.

· There is an overlap between indigenous peoples and others who have lived close by for generations and shared extensively in marine resource use, thus creating an amalgam of traditional cultures.

· There is a growing awareness by nation-states to integrate into their own emerging national cultures the beliefs and practices found among indigenous peoples and others who share traditional cultures.

Produced by the Science-to-Action partnership, which includes more than 75 organizations led by Conservation International, these publications are based on five years of social science research in over 35 marine managed areas in fifteen countries. The Science-to-Action partnership offers recommendations for successful implementation of marine conservation to maximize the benefits to people and nature. Key social scientific findings and recommendations are presented in the new guidebook and policy briefs.

· The 40-page guidebook Economic Incentives for Marine Conservation (PDF, 1.7 MB) provides guidance on how to select and implement incentive-based solutions: buyouts, conservation agreements, and alternative livelihoods.

· The four-page policy brief Economic Incentives Motivate Human Behavior Change (PDF, 0.9 MB) summarizes the economic incentive guidebook and outlines how to design an incentive approach.

· The four-page policy brief Bridging the Gap Between Human Culture and Conservation (PDF, 1.0 MB) discusses the mutual dependence of humans on their surrounding environment, and the role of cultural beliefs and behaviors as the mediating force between the two.

We encourage you to use the guidebook and policy briefs to advance discussions with government agencies, non-government organizations, user groups, and other stakeholders to influence better decisions for coastal and ocean resources, and about how and why to implement integrated management for the ocean.

These publications may be downloaded in pdf format at our website: Please contact Septiana Rustandi at if you would like printed copies of the policy briefs and guidebook. Additional information on marine managed areas and the Science-to-Action global learning network is available at

Giselle Samonte, PhD (Resource Economist)
Director Social Science Research & Outreach
Science and Knowledge Division

2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22202 U.S.A.
+703 341 2589 (phone)