Payment for Ecosystem Services

When Markets Improve the Environment

28 September 2010, 9:00 – 18:30

Well-functioning ecosystems provide reliable and clean flows of water, productive soil, healthy forests, clean air, and many other services essential for human well-being. The currently fastest economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region places an increasing pressure upon the environmental carrying capacity. This side event will explore the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) among other innovative financial tools and market-based conservation strategies to ensure implementation of the Green Growth strategy. Thereafter, PES schemes contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to poverty reduction and environmental sustainability, the targets of Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the recommendations of Agenda 21, and the goals of multilateral environmental agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

A definition of PES states that Payments for ecosystem services is contractual transaction between a buyer (e.g.farmer, timber logger, tourist, village or city resident) and a seller (e.g. farmer association, forest service, local government, private company) for an ecosystem service or a land use/management practice likely to secure that service. PES schemes complement the command-and-control measures, which have often shown to be too costly or ineffective[1].

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. PES is a tool that brings up the role of biodiversity providing the environmental services as a means of improving decision-making at all levels, engaging the business sector and recognizing the cross-scale ecosystem interactions.[2] Built around specific case studies from Asia, Europe and North America, this side event will assess economic, environmental and social benefits of introducing the PES schemes. It will also explore the methods of ecosystem services assessment and measurement, the practicalities and the necessary conditions for PES, legal and contractual matters, funds management as well as the other essential aspects of PES implementation and evaluation.

The event will consist of an extensive workshop (morning session) and training-seminar (afternoon session) with the presence of more than thirty national, regional and international specialists. The event will be conducted within the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6), which will be held on Sept 27th to October 2nd 2010.

Side event objectives

  • Showcase the best and innovative PES practices in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America on the local, national and regional levels;
  • Discuss the key experiences, lessons and practicalities of PES implementation, as well as links to other issues (e.g. poverty alleviation, health improvement);
  • Explore and discuss the necessary context for decision-making process in PES establishment (institutional and legal factors, ecosystem characteristics, political acceptance, etc.);
  • To discuss challenges and benefits of business sector engagement into PES schemes;
  • Learn and improve understanding of the practical steps of PES — from planning to evaluation.

Participants: Policy makers, academicians, private companies, civil society members, general public.

For the additional information regarding this side event, please, contact Mariya Genina, CAREC Environmental Management and Policy program specialist by phone: +7 (727) 278 51 10 (ext. 140) or by E-mail:

[1] UNECE (2007) Recommendations on payment for ecosystem services in integrated water resource management.

[2] Eights ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Curitiba, Brazil, 20-31 March 2006). Decision VIII/9: Implications of the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.