PES training for key experts from Bulgaria national institutions
The training was carried out by Dr Julio Tresierra, Coordinator of the global programme for the payment for watershed services (EPWS) which is headquartered at WWF Netherlands.
Julio Tresierra opened the training by providing facts about the ecological capacity of the planet and human footprint on ecosystems and biodiversity, "driving species to extinction at a rate of four each minute". He pointed out that currently nature provides benefits to society that are taken for granted; that when the entire value of environmental services and environmental capital resources is known, along with the effect of human activity on this value, intelligent decisions can be made within the economic framework.
In this situation PES is just one of the existing range of solutions to restore, improve and sustainably manage services by ecosystems. PES requires several clearly identified elements, as presented by Julio: an environmental problem linked to human activities, buyers and sellers, and a business case showing the alternative to the business as usual scenario (which is no longer an option). Behind these simple elements there is a lot of inter-disciplinary science and communication, which participants were able to learn about.
The training included a practical part, during which participants were able to work on their own cases. A main outcome of the training was that PES is an instrument which can have its place in Bulgaria and it can contribute to the existing public payments for the environment; that it can provide sustainable funding for protected areas. Experts emphasized on the importance of investing more efforts into the mapping and assessment of ecosystem services at the national level, so that innovative financial instruments, such as PES, could be applied on the ground.