Translating political economy insights into conservation practice: a six-step guide

This guide suggests six steps for bringing political economy analysis findings into a theory of change for a project or programme.

It aims to provide a practical means for conservationists to navigate political economy in contexts where they work. While a theory of change explains the logic of a project, a political economy analysis, which looks at the influence of power, helps get to the heart of what needs to change for a project to work. But practitioners often find it challenging to use political economy analysis in practice. 

The aim of conservation is to safeguard people and nature. Theories of change articulate what needs to change to deliver on that aim, along with the kinds of things that need to happen to get to that change – what needs to be different.

Understanding more about who has power – to make change, to impede change – and how they get and use that power helps to clarify the conditions that need to change in order to achieve results.

About the TNRC project

The TNRC project seeks to improve biodiversity conservation outcomes by helping practitioners to address the threats posed by corruption to wildlife, fisheries and forests. TNRC harnesses existing knowledge, generates new evidence, and supports innovative policy and practice for more effective anti-corruption programming on the ground.

A USAID-funded project, TNRC is implemented by a consortium of leading organisations in anti-corruption, natural resource management, and conservation: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, TRAFFIC, and the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at George Mason University.

This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or individual TNRC consortium members.

Translating political economy insights into conservation practice. Photo: Luis Barreto/WWW-UK
Date published
Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) project