Does an approver (Service Desk) need a jira licence?

There is no mention on this in the documentation - since approvers rarely are service desk agents (oftentimes managers, that don't work within the service desk except for giving approvals for certain things) I would assume that approvers don't need a JIRA licence at all and are counted as "customers"?

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thats a good question!! Even if they are jira-users, do they need to have an agent-license?

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It appears that "you do not need a license to approve a ticket in JIRA Service Desk. Anyone with application permission like Agents, managers, customers, can be an approver." source

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