Appendix E – Detailed Explanation of the Conservancy’s Human Well-Being Focal Areas and Associated Components

This appendix provides a more detailed description of the eight focal areas in Conservation by Design 2.0 human well-being framework. Focal areas provide a starting point for systematically considering how human well-being is directly and indirectly affected by nature and conservation actions. They are purposefully broad, and are meant to be intuitive to lay audiences yet specific enough to lend themselves to study. Because human well-being is context-dependent and often locally defined, it is important to engage early with stakeholders to explore if there are any missing focal areas or components. It is also important to work in partnership with stakeholders determine the specific desired components of each focal area. For example, a project proponent may assume women in a village want to walk less distance to get water, while the women actually prefer to walk a greater distance, as this may be their only opportunity to leave the house and bond with each other. In other villages, walking to get water may be one of the most dangerous activities for women, and walking less distance to get water may be an urgent matter of personal safety. In all these situations it is important to seek out the particular stakeholders involved and engage in a time, location and language that is comfortable for them, to ensure that these focal areas and components are well-understood to those involved in designing and carrying out the project.

Note that equity is a crosscutting focal area that touches on the distribution of the other seven focal areas. For instance, a conservation strategy aiming to decrease heat island effects in urban areas may only benefit wealthier areas of the city. Here the benefits may be decreased household energy costs via decreases in air conditioning use. The benefits are unequally distributed, further exacerbating the disparity between advantaged and disadvantaged populations. The impact of conservation programs is unlikely to be the same across the population, and it is important to pay particular attention to how risks and benefits vary by subpopulation (e.g., women, children, the elderly, low income, indigenous groups). Using stakeholder analysis and engaging early on and throughout the project life-cycle with subpopulations can provide insight into the potential negative impacts from a conservation strategy. It is important to consider not just overall negative impacts (e.g., jobs decrease as a result of a protected area), but the distribution of any negative impacts (e.g., job losses particularly high among indigenous groups). Special attention should be paid to historically disadvantaged groups or groups that may lack voice and agency (see Risks below). Depending on the context, this can include groups such as women, indigenous groups, and children.

Table 6: Focal area definition with example components

Focal Area: Living standards
This captures the material needs of basic life including income, wealth, material goods, and necessities. Common components include income (or poverty), shelter, access to clean water, belongings (bike, television, car), and material wealth (savings, assets). Conservation may directly affect living standards through activities such as lending programs (microfinance), policies that increase or limit access to natural resources (protected areas or no-take zones that reduce or increase harvest rates or income), subsidies or incentives including payments (income), or materials (fencing, housing materials, water infrastructure). Other strategies may indirectly affect living standards by improving environmental conditions that support the provision of basic needs. This can include water filtration by healthy watersheds, wood availability for charcoal or home construction, sustainable forage productions in cultures where livestock are used for income and/or as assets, sustainable harvest of environmental products sold for income (fish, rattan, bushmeat, timber), or opportunities for recreational activities that generate income.

Example components for living standards: Income, shelter, assets

Focal Area: Health
Health relates to any component of people's mental or physical condition. Health captures everything from nutrition to cognitive function, prevalence of vector-borne diseases, to life expectancy. Conservation projects may invest directly in improving health to enable greater participation in conservation, as the Conservancy did for maternal health in Lake Tanganyika. Changes in the environment can also affect health indirectly through nutrition by altering the availability of food (protected areas, sustainable harvest, agricultural intensification, pollination, pest control), through respiratory health by expanding forests that can filter particulates from the air, stopping unplanned forest fires whose smoke can cause pneumonia or lower child birth weight, or by providing places for contemplation and exercise that alter attention and mood (mental health).

Example components for health : Nutrition, cognitive function, vector-borne disease, mental health

Focal Area: Education
Education includes any transfer of knowledge, either through formal or informal means. For example, education captures learning new skills from neighbors, school attendance, traditional knowledge passed down from elders to youth, or technical trainings, among other modes. Conservation often has direct impacts on education, as many conservation strategies include training, capacity and education programs in concert with other interventions like protected area establishment, payments for ecosystem services, alternative livelihoods programs, or scientific tool development. Much outreach and communication is directly targeted towards education, while some efforts may also have indirect impacts on education. For example, recent research suggests increasing nature in ambient environments can enhance a person's focus, mood, and ability to learn.

Example components for health: Technical training, school attendance, and literacy

Focal Area: Work and leisure
The most popular component of work and leisure is employment, but this focal area also includes time use, family life, and personal activities beyond work. Conservation can alter employment directly by creating or reducing the availability of jobs through strategies such as hiring park guards, buying out fishing quotas, and creating alternative livelihood options. Many conservation strategies are likely to alter time use indirectly by making resources more available such that people have to spend less time acquiring them. For example, sustainable grazing projects may increase forage enough so that herders have to spend less time taking livestock to graze, watershed investments may increase water supply or quality such that women and children have to spend less time walking to a clean water source, sustainable fishing practices may increase fish stocks so fishermen can stay closer to home and bring in a catch. Alternatively, marine protected areas may result in increased leisure and decreased employment by decreasing the area available for fishing.

Example components for work and leisure: Employment, labor market opportunities, freedom of choice over time, family life, personal life, personal activities

Focal Area: Governance
Governance is fundamentally about power, relationships, and accountability. In other words, who has influence and decision-making authority, and how are people or institutions held accountable? This focal area broadly captures components across local, national, and global scales, and in formal (laws) and informal (norms and taboos) forms. Conservation strategies commonly affect governance directly. This may be through processes like ensuring representative participation in a decision process, encouraging transparency, establishing benefits-sharing mechanisms, developing stakeholder groups and processes, establishing decision-making bodies (like water fund boards and sustainable grazing coalitions), and influencing policies (creation of protected areas, formalizing land tenure, establishing management zones, mitigation laws, agricultural subsidies). Incomplete or inappropriate engagement with stakeholders in any of these processes can negatively affect governance.

Example components for governance: Laws, norms, and taboos, rules, enforcement, corruption

Focal Area: Social cohesion
Social cohesion captures social capital, community connectedness, trust, and spiritual or cultural opportunity. Culture is broadly defined, and captures values familiar to conservationists such as aesthetic values and existence value (the interest in knowing a certain species of place exists, even if it is never visited or seen). Conservation work can directly affect social cohesion when processes, laws, or regulations change group interactions (reducing conflict, increasing cultural exchanges, knowledge sharing) or alter access to places or resources that are spiritually, culturally, or communally important (re-establishing traditional harvest areas, securing access to culturally important species or places, restricting access to spiritual sites).

Example components for social cohesion: Intergroup cohesion, cultural and spiritual opportunity, trust, social network density

Focal Area: Security
This focal area captures not only physical security, but also other aspects of security including those critical to stable livelihoods such as economic, political, legal, and food security. Conservation may alter security directly by creating or enforcing conflict-related institutions (doing joint park patrols with government enforcers, creating peace discussion groups, establishing international trade bans), providing programs that diversify and/or stabilize income (alternative livelihoods, connecting to markets, job training), or helping to secure rights (land tenure, communal harvest rights, water access rights, management rights). Conservation may indirectly affect security by changing environmental conditions that drive conflict (increasing water supply, forage or crop production, timber growth, regulating or containing crop raiding wildlife), or improving or diversifying food sources.

Example components for security: Safety, income stability, food security

Focal Area: Equity
Equity refers to the fair distribution of benefits among people. This is very much a crosscutting focal area and should be considered in reference to every other focal area. There can be inequity in the distribution of food sources, pollution, income, educational opportunities, legal rights, jobs, housing, spiritual opportunities, and so on. Whenever human well-being is being considered, specific groups of people who may be affected differently should be identified, and attention should be paid to how impacts will accrue across these groups. As with all other focal areas, conservation has the potential to have both positive and negative impacts on equity. Our work will very often set up the potential for tradeoffs among groups (lost income to large corporate actors vs. gains in local employment), and clear identification of possible inequities can help design strategies that avoid them (see Social Safeguard guidance questions in DESIGN: Risks). Conservation can improve equity by providing benefits to vulnerable and underrepresented groups when possible.

Example components for equity: Gender income equity, age employment equity, representation in decision making

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