Tag Archives: Social impact assessment


Literature Review on Social and Gender Impacts of IWS

Michael Richards’ literature review on the social and gender impacts of IWS is now available on the Forest Trends site.  A companion piece to Initial Recommendations for the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) in Investments in Watershed Services Programs, the literature review provides a comprehensive look at whether social impacts have been monitored or tracked in IWS projects.  It also contains an assessment of the tracking of gender impacts in PES and water resources management projects more broadly.

Key recommendations from the review are:

  • Instigate credible monitoring of gender and other social variables, so that it is possible to start a learning process about gender effects, and to feed the information back into the program design and adaptive management processes;
  • The wider literature on gender and water management implies that a more gender-nuanced strategy would have a significant pay-off for both environmental and social outcomes. There is considerable guidance on how to conduct gender analysis;
  • Programs should investigate promotion of local management arrangements that facilitate adaptation and innovation, for example, in enabling the participation of marginalized groups, or for dealing with local tenure problems;
  • It is best not to have poverty reduction as a major direct goal of IWS programs since this is likely to result in trade-offs, but to aim to design payment mechanisms in such a way that the poor and women can participate, for example, by supporting resource poor land users in the adoption of desired land use practices through technical assistance and access to credit (Pagiola et al. 2005);
  • It is normally better to strengthen existing institutions rather than attempt to create new ones;
  • Payments in kind rather than in cash or a combination of in kind and cash payments may be better for poverty reduction and gender benefits in view of the tendency for cash to go straight to men;
  • Aggregation of service providers is an important strategy for minimizing transactions costs which are an important barrier to participation by the poor (Asquith & Wunder 2008).

Read the whole literature review here.


Including Social and Gender Impacts in Investments in Watershed Services Programs

As part of the Scaling Up project, Forest Trends and the Water Initiative have released a new publication providing initial recommendations for including social impact assessment in investments in watershed services programs.  While IWS projects definitely have the potential to have social and gender impacts (and sometimes have social and gender goals stated within them), the publication demonstrates that few IWS projects have monitored or evaluated the extent of these impacts.

From the Forest Trends site: 

The main objective of this paper is to provide recommendations on the social impact assessment (SIA) of investments for watershed services (IWS) projects or programs. The paper draws on an extensive literature on the theory and practice of SIA, on the authors’ experiences of applying SIA in other natural resource contexts, and on discussions from a workshop with IWS program practitioners. It can be regarded as an introductory primer on SIA for IWS practitioners.

Download the report here.