Public authorities benefit from expert training on payments for ecosystem services

Posted on 07 November 2013    
PES training.
PES training.
© WWF Romania
A two-day training on ecosystem services and PES addressed to public institutions has taken place in Romania. The training was conducted by Julio Tresierra, PES expert with more than 10 years of experience in South America, Asia and Africa and coordinator of the global programme "Equitable Payments for Watershed Services" (EPWS) implemented by WWF Netherlands. Tresierra has also been involved in the PES Danube project as a consultant.

Designing, implementing and monitoring PES schemes require the active involvement of a large array of stakeholders, including suppliers and beneficiaries of ecosystem services, scientists and experts. These activities can be significantly improved if local, regional and national level decision makers and policy makers are engaged.

Consequently, the objectives of the training were as follows:
  • Improve the level of understanding in relation to financial mechanisms for nature conservation in general and the innovative PES mechanisms, in particular.
  • Improve the understanding of the connection between biodiversity and growth at a global, regional and national level. In this context, PES is a governance strategy which helps harmonise the socio-economic development needs and nature conservation needs.
  • Build capacity of institutional representatives in terms of planning, implementing and monitoring PES mechanisms.
  • Discuss opportunities and feasibility for the development of PES mechanisms as an innovative conservation tool in government coordinated programmes.
The most important lesson of this training was related to the fundamental difference between the concepts of price and value. The idea of putting a price tag on nature has led to the phenomenon of selling/buying nature as a commodity which in turn has led to the degradation of ecosystems and natural resources. By contrast, acknowledging the value of nature means integrating the cost of using nature in the price of natural resources, thus promoting the logic of conserving ecosystems.

Amongst the conclusions of the training was the fact that, by and large, we are still seeing ecosystem services as things that we are getting for free and forever, irrespective of the ways in which we are using natural resources. We don’t know or we don’t see as necessary calculating the cost we would have to pay if we lose these services and if we find ourselves in need to restore initial conditions to benefit from these services again. As nature has a value beyond any economic measurement, it is important to always find a win-win solution in terms of development and conservation needs, to identify the mechanism which helps bringing together the suppliers and users of ecosystem services. In some cases, PES is this solution and the experience accumulated by the PES Danube project team is testament to that.
PES training.
PES training.
© WWF Romania Enlarge

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