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USAID’s Biodiversity and Extractives Political Economy Assessment

Under the REPLACE IDIQ, Integra conducted a biodiversity and extractives political economy assessment (PEA) in order to better understand how key actors’ interests and incentives help or hinder USAID programming to conserve biodiversity in extractive industries.

Political Economy Analysis (PEA) is a field-based methodology that can improve the effectiveness of international development assistance by helping development practitioners to focus on not only how things happen but why things happen. Although used specifically for biodiversity conservation planning under this project, the Framework itself is agnostic to the subject matter and country context, and can be used for  a variety of assessments at the country, sector, or problem level. PEA requires researchers to analyze the politics and power, not simply to understand the relationships but to expose how and why these specifically hinder development goals – and ultimately to identify how actors’ interests and change processes could be supported. In many ways PEA tries to determine the who, what, and why that keeps and sustains the status quo and what realistic opportunities are there to change incentives and to effect change.

The assessments for this project focused on the following areas: artisanal gold mining and biodiversity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, oil development in Uganda, and fisheries and marine biodiversity in Madagascar. Each case was conducted by a multidisciplinary research team composed of international and in-country members. Each team had at least some members trained in using USAID’s Applied PEA Framework. The teams were lead by an international consultant with expertise in PEA, but were conducted collaboratively with each USAID Mission. Each team spent several weeks scoping the PEA questions to be examined, and two weeks per PEA in the filed conducting interviews

For summaries of the lessons learned and key findings from these PEAs as a whole, as well as individual case study summaries, please see the documents linked below:

Summary of Using PEA for Biodiversity Conservation Planning

Summary of Lessons Learned from Using Applied PEA Framework

Summary of the Artisanal Gold Mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo PEA Report

Summary of the Oil Development in Uganda PEA Report

Summary of the Fisheries in Madagascar PEA Report

The three case studies conducted by USAID and Integra in African countries showed that the Applied PEA Framework is an important tool for understanding of how the impacts of extractives affect customary property rights and customary law, intersect with patronage networks, including those related to land accumulation and territorial occupation associated with these industries, and relate to criminality.