UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub

Researcher name: EJ Milner-Gulland

Period: 2019 - 2024

Title of research: UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub

Funder: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is pioneering an ambitious new approach to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through a £200M investment across 12 global research Hubs.  

Over the next five years the Interdisciplinary Research Hubs will work across 85 countries with governments, international agencies, partners and NGOs on the ground in developing countries and around the globe, to develop creative and sustainable solutions which help make the world, and the UK, safer, healthier and more prosperous.

UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub

Thousands of species are threatened globally with extinction, there has been a swift decline in biodiversity and ecosystem resilience and people are being kept in poverty as trade in wildlife and agricultural commodities from low and middle-income countries has rapidly increased. This Hub includes economists, trade modellers, political scientists, ecologists, development scientists, large companies, UN bodies and NGOs who will work together across supply chains to influence trade related policy and practice. It will also produce research to help ensure that trade becomes a driver of positive change in the world, with biodiversity loss halted and people permanently lifted out of poverty.

Professor Milner Gulland: “Ensuring that international trade is positive for sustainable development rather than destructive for nature is one of the major challenges for humanity. That is why I’m excited to be part of this GCRF hub, which will bring together people from major trading countries and a range of sectors (including academia, business and government) to address this issue. I am particularly excited that Oxford will be hosting early career researchers from Africa and Indonesia to work collaboratively with our research team, bringing new perspectives and opportunities both to them and to Oxford.” 

 

The Challenge

Sustainable trade in wild species and agricultural goods can lift people out of poverty and create economic growth, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

In many places however, this has not been realised. Instead the exploitation of wild resources and conversion of land to agricultural production has led to severe degradation and species loss, wiping out local livelihood options and keeping people in a cycle of poverty. 

Due in part to unsustainable trade, the global community is at risk of falling short of international ambitions such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Explicitly addressing the challenges of trade and working together towards better practices that enhance sustainability will be essential to fulfil these ambitions.

The project will study how different systems of trade have affected biodiversity from a biophysical, social, political and economic point of view, and seek to trace the impact of the trade throughout supply chains - from supplier to consumer countries via trading companies. As well as feeding into public policy advice, this research will also help companies understand their products’ true environmental impact all the way back to the raw materials.

 

 

 

Duiker meat. Photo: Stephanie Brittain
Duiker meat. Photo: Stephanie Brittain