The Ecosystems and Livelihoods Group works to maximize the positive influences of people’s livelihoods on ecosystems and of ecosystems on people’s livelihoods. The ecosystems and livelihoods approach, as reflected in the groups’ thematic work, is thus based on the application of three conceptual models and sets of tools: (i) the ecosystem approach; (ii) the sustainable livelihood framework; and, (iii) a pro-poor focus.

In doing so, the work of ELG aligns with, and directly contributes to, goals and interventions of a global scale, including a number of the UN Millennium Development Goals and IUCN’s overall mission “to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable”.

ELG is composed of the eight regional thematic programmes – Business & Biodiversity, Environmental Economics, Environmental Law, Forests, Marine & Coastal resources, Protected Areas, Species & Biodiversity and Water & Wetlands programmes. These thematic programmes work together as multi-disciplinary teams, which permits ecosystems and livelihoods to be addressed in a more comprehensive and holistic way.