In this project we question how poverty can be alleviated through ecosystem-based management of natural resources. Alleviating poverty sometimes requires strategies which are inherently in conflict. This is particularly the case in economies based on natu ral resources. As one seeks to reduce poverty one risks aggregating it. For instance, in some fisheries and coastal communities poverty is commonly related to overuse and resource degradation of natural resources. Poverty is both the cause and effect of u nsustainable fisheries and coastal economies. Poor fishing people have no other available alternative than to continue what might be regarded as environmental destruction. For fisheries and coastal management, this involves a dilemma: As one aims to devel op a fishery, one may undermine its very basis. Fisheries development and management must therefore go hand in hand. Poverty alleviation must occur within safe ecological limits, i.e. be sustainable. Otherwise poverty will be sustained if not amplified. W e will study how poor communities in 11 different countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America and North America cope in order to maintain sustainable livelihoods through periods of resource crisis, and what conditions are essential to secure resili ence at individual, household and community levels. A particular focus will be on government and civil society institutions for collective action that exist at various scales. This will include their capacity for poverty alleviation, conflict resolution a nd resource stewardship. The project will draw on, and contribute to "sustainable livelihoods theory", "governance theory", "rural development theory", "integrated coastal zone management" and "ecosystem-based management". These theories emphasise socio-c ultural and institutional issues concerning rural development, such as coping strategies, social and ecological resilience, empowerment, social capital and trust.