International Forum on payments for ecosystem services of tropical forests


San José, Costa Rica - - The International Forum on Payments for Ecosystem Services of Tropical Forests took place from 7 to 10 April. The Forum was jointly hosted by ITTO, FAO, and the Fonds national de financement des forêts (FONAFIFO). The meeting aimed to underscore the importance of developing and implementing PES schemes in tropical countries and share best practices and lessons learned from many projects and activities that have been conducted in recent years to spread the practice around the globe and hence foster the PES system.

Understanding the nature of the stakes of the forum, nearly 200 participants showed up. They included for the most part policy makers, researchers, academics, field workers , civil society, the private sector as well as regional and international organizations involved in PES elaboration, implementation and support, who came to :

♦ explore experiences, opportunities and challenges related to finding ways in which PES can help reduce poverty and support GDF, with a special focus on payment for environmental services;
♦ establish linkages between the opportunities and challenges of PES compensation schemes;
♦ identify the political, legal, socio-economic and environmental factors, including gender, ownership regimes and traditional knowledge, which are crucial to effectively developing PES in order to formulate recommendations for promoting PES schemes at local, national and international levels;
♦ promote and enhance cooperation among partners , including South-South partnerships , and between bilateral and multilateral PES initiatives.

The forum was articulated around keynote presentations followed by a string of presentations by panelists on case studies by topic. A total of four main topics were discussed including:

♦ PES for sustainable forest management
♦ Developing innovative financing mechanisms
♦ Ensuring local communities’ access to benefits

 ♦ Establish strong governance and institutional arrangements

The sessions allowed participants to explore the subject matter in depth and conduct fruitful discussions , which led to recommendations encapsulated in a statement, aimed at increasing the effectiveness of PES schemes implemented for tropical forests and encouraging other countries to develop comparable devices.

The outdoor part of the forum featured a field trip which allowed participants to build on experience garnered by Costa Rica which has since 1996  been operating a PES programme under its national law on forests which recognizes four categories of payments for environmental services ( mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; hydrological services, biodiversity conservation , and landscape aesthetics) .

For more details on the forum proceedings, please consult the website: HERE

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