Jul 11, 2012 by Judith Nzyoka
The one of representative from Pro-poor Rewards for Environmental Service in Africa (PRESA) was given a chance to show the programme’s initiative as part of RIO+20 negotiations focused on how to shift to a sustainable, green economy.
One way of shifting to a green economy is to “ place an economic value on environmental goods and services and encourage a shift towards more sustainable activities by paying or rewarding those who practice good stewardship. In the agricultural sector, this means paying or rewarding farmers who adopt good practices. Payment for Ecosystem Services, or PES, is an innovative market-based approach currently being used around the world to encourage such shifts,” writes Vanessa Meadu of CCAFS.
In a CCAFS blog article, Vanessa writes about Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) as a possible mechanism for encouraging farmers to shift to a green economy with the help of initiatives such as PRESA.
Dr Sara Namirembe of the World Agroforestry Centre shared about PRESA which brings together people working in several PES projects to share lessons and exchange strategies for successful implementation of PES.
In Vanessa’s article, Sara’s experience of PES is that it is still a major challenge trying to balance fairness and efficiency across different PES programs.
Another common drawback as noted by Sara is that buyers “want proof that they will actually receive what they are paying for”. As Vanessa writes, buyers want to be sure that land use practices will deliver the anticipated environmental services.
She continues on to note that “PES shows that environmental and economic goals don’t need to be at odds. PES systems can be equitable and pro-poor, supporting economic development as well as protecting ecosystems. Decisions made at Rio+20 must help support more projects that exemplify what a green economy can achieve”. Programs such as PRESA are helping to build a solid base of knowledge and enhance the capacity of local groups that want to implement, and perhaps benefit from, PES.