October 28, 2010 by
PRESA recently held a workshop in the Republic of Guinea that brought together Fouta Djallon stakeholders for a discussion on policy issues, tools and research results.
The one-day workshop held in the Guinean capital, Conakry, had 25 participants from international development organizations, the private sector, the Centre for Study and Research in Environment (CÉRE), Guinea Water Company and the World Agroforestry Centre.
The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of tools for managing payments for environmental services (PES) schemes and a detailed analysis of current international discussion on PES. The event analysed willingness to pay by beneficiaries of ecosystem services and the readiness of communities to maintain ecosystem services under their stewardship. There was also a follow-up on the resolutions of the first event held in 2009.
The workshop was officially opened by the Director General of CÉRE, Prof. Ibrahima Boiro. He sincerely appreciated the partnership between the World Agroforestry Centre and CÉRE and the efforts of researchers to get participatory solutions to the problems faced by the rural populations of Guinea.
Presentations were made by selected scientists from various institutions involved in the PRESA project in the Fouta Djallon Highlands. Dr Mamadou Kabirou Bah talked about ecosystem services and the key priorities set with communities in the landscapes of Balayan Souroumba and Nyalama.
Serge Ngendakumana, of the World Agroforestry Centre, gave an overview of tools developed and tested by PRESA in the sub region and in East Africa. Participants were directed to the PRESA and World Agroforestry Centre web sites to get details of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) tools, bearing in mind that Africa lags behind other tropical areas in terms of carbon projects and ecosystem service payment schemes. The tools are affordable to every African research team.
Serge highlighted the need to work on emerging research questions related to the impact of tree planting on watersheds, the best PES options for biodiversity conservation, and the drivers of deforestation in Fouta Djallon.
An important concern was on how the private sector has been addressing deforestation. This was the subject of a series of partner meetings held on the eve of the workshop with the Guinea Water Company, the Banque Guinéenne de Promotion Agricole et Minière (BADAM), and BH Billton consortium of Aluminium & SMFG.
With regards to policy issues, research should focus on institutional set ups, policy frameworks and shortcoming analysis. This requires seizing emerging opportunities at regional and international levels. The policy dialogue ended with full satisfaction from both private and public sectors representatives who thanked the World Agroforestry Centre and CÉRE for piloting PES related events in Fouta Djallon.
All participants showed interest and willingness to see through the pilot PES project under PRESA. They committed themselves to source for concrete investments in research and development to promote PES mechanisms in Fouta Djallon and in Guinea as a whole.
The value of the Fouta Djallon highlands is worth a great deal. The PRESA team and partners such as the United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, some banks and mining companies are united in working towards a common goal, which is: “storing increased water quantities while reversing forest degradation through better land use options, with local communities, private sector and government engaged in conservation.”