Danube PES schemes and lessons learnt presented at Round Table on Ecosystem Services
Our pilots provide the very first assessment of ecosystem services conducted at a national level. The valuation of ecosystems and their services in the project pilot areas was not the primary goal of the Danube PES project. The analysis may not be perfect, but it provides invaluable experience in the assessment and valuation of ecosystem services in terms of data and capacity availability and gaps, which will be used in future at a national level. The Danube PES pilots also show how the data from the ecosystem services valuation can later be used in the development of market-based instruments to restore, protect and sustainably manage them.
During the workshop, the team also presented lessons learnt from the application of PES in the Danube river basin. The lessons learn document covers practical aspects the Danube PES team faced during the design and implementation phase of PES schemes, such as communications, data availability and credibility, ownership of a PES scheme, financial, legal and monitoring frameworks. Among the overall lessons learnt and recommendations are:
- Identify and involve key experts from national/regional administrations at an early stage. This will help get an idea of the real picture of the ecosystems status and the level of services currently generated.
- Get to know well the local stakeholders and their situation. Learn to listen to people and do not push them to enter an initiative they feel uncertain/insecure about.
- Assess buyers and sellers not only for their willingness to participate but also for their capacity (readiness).
- Try not to put too many limits in the legal document and/or to buyers. Two aspects here: a flexible legal basis of the scheme to allow for an easy way of adapting it when necessary; trust is a key in business relations!
- Share your lessons.