February 16, 2012 by presa
Feb 16, 2012 by Judith Nzyoka
Last week, PRESA’s (Pro-poor Rewards for Environmental Services in Africa) work to give incentives to environmental stewards was awarded the title ‘Innovation of the Week’ by an article featured by the World Watch Institute and Huff Post Green. The article recognized PRESA’s initiative to reward farmers for providing ecosystem services through market-based approaches in eight sites in the highlands of East and West Africa.
‘The market-based system works by rewarding the individual or community that provides a certain environmental service. Building a grass waterway 20 kilometers long and 3 meters wide in the Sasumua watershed, for example, can reduce soil sedimentation by 20 percent. This amounts to savings of US$23,000 a year in purification costs for the Nairobi Water Company, which operates downstream and provides the city with clean water. The cost of maintaining the waterway is only US$3,000 a year for the 500 households involved, making it a win-win scenario for both farmers and urban residents,’ reads the article.
The writer concludes by noting that PRESA’s work in Africa shows that rewarding communities for environmental services can be a very effective way to support rural livelihoods while conserving the environment at the same time.
Details of how the project works in the other sites are documented in a recent publication on Pro-poor rewards for environmental services in Africa. Related to this is a newly published journal article titled, Auction Design for the Private Provision of Public Goods in Developing Countries: Lessons from Payments for Environmental Services in Malawi and Indonesia. The article authorship is led by Oluyede Ajayi, a Senior Policy Scientist, Research & Development at ICRAF and Beria Leimona, Program Officer, ICRAF – RUPES (Rewards for Use of and Shared Investment in Pro-poor Environmental Services) research program. The article published in the journal World Development provides lessons on design of Payments for Environmental Services from ICRAF’s work in Malawi and Indonesia.