Improved management of natural resources and important ecosystem services not only supports economic growth and strengthens resilience to climate change but also can provide the foundation for sustainable development.

Sound management of the earth’s ecosystems is fundamental for sustained economic growth, livelihoods, security, and human well-being. Natural resources such as clean water and air, forests, agricultural land, and coastal systems all provide the basis for lasting human development and resilience.

But expanding populations, political instability, and climate change are increasing pressure on the natural systems on which human development depends. DAI partners with government, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and local stakeholders to create environmental solutions that improve livelihoods, protect precious water supplies, conserve natural habitats and biodiversity, and strengthen resilience to climate change and other natural and man-made shocks.

Over the past 40 years, we have amassed the experience needed to tailor our global expertise to relevant local development priorities. Tapping our worldwide network of development professionals, we help local and national stakeholders design and implement people-focused approaches that deliver development results for clients in:

Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene—Improving the management and use of water resources. We help national and local governments and private water service providers develop and implement innovative approaches for providing water and sanitation services to meet current and growing demand. Our teams help governments, civil society groups, and private businesses improve water use efficiency in agriculture, manufacturing, and urban areas; invest in improved sanitation to meet human health needs; and plan and implement strategies that improve the protection and management of watersheds and water resources for current and future generations.

Sustainable Livelihoods—Analyzing value chains and crafting partnerships between governments, communities, and enterprises to reform policies, strengthen business linkages, and create incentives that stimulate local business growth based on sustainable economic, social, and environmental returns. We assist local communities and nongovernmental groups to analyze current livelihoods and potential opportunities—adding value to activities that people already understand—and build new small and medium-sized enterprises.

Natural Resource Management—Balancing the protection and management of forests, wildlife, water, and coastal resources. We work to improve people’s welfare by linking their livelihoods to the sound management of natural resources and ecosystems. Developing countries often face seemingly impossible choices that pit protecting ecosystems against tapping natural resources to drive economic growth. We harness both these impulses by helping governments design policies and regulations and assisting communities to promote the sustainable management of forest resources, conserve biodiversity and natural habitats, and provide incentives and livelihood opportunities for local stakeholders. These programs can include the development of sustainable supply chains and direct payments for environmental services, thereby delivering economic and social benefits that are grounded in maintaining the integrity of ecosystems.

Energy—Expanding the delivery of modern energy services, reliably and securely. Worldwide, 2.4 billion people still rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and 1.6 billion people lack electricity. But affordable energy is critical to sustainable livelihoods and economic development. We support countries around the world in designing policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption by promoting investments in clean and renewable energy as well as energy efficiency, without compromising economic development.

Land Tenure and Property Rights–DAI works within all tenure systems—customary, private, and public—to strengthen the security of land users, depending on what will yield adequate security in a given context. We do so in cost-effective ways, working with and through familiar local institutions that have won the confidence of local habitants, so they can get on with their livelihoods. Our land tenure and property rights work includes securing property rights, supporting policy and law reforms, building institutions, disseminating information, promoting participatory land and resource planning, dispute resolution and mitigation, training, research and communications, and grants management.

Climate—Helping community, business, and government partners analyze and communicate climate threats and vulnerabilities, and take actions that strengthen local and national resilience. Our local-to-global approach helps communities adapt to drought and floods, uses innovative technology to provide tailored climate and weather information to aid in decision making, and supports national and international climate planning and action. We work across sectors to address climate vulnerabilities, protect water resources, improve food security, safeguard livelihoods, and preserve economic and social development gains. We support comprehensive solutions that not only reduce atmospheric and land-based carbon emissions but also contribute to inclusive economic growth.