A set of four modules for practitioners
Examples of conditional
China, Costa Rica
Jobs to poor
Job schemes in
Costa Rica PSA
(Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia)
South Africa: “Environmental
for global benefit
India Mahatma Gandhi
PRC SLCP/ Eco-compensation
Kenya: Blue carbon/mangroves
Detailed case studies and
engagement of ongoing CT/PES
Theory of change
• The programme provides guaranteed employment during the
lean agricultural season. It primarily funds infrastructure
projects such as irrigation and water conservation structures
that support agricultural activities. Therefore, through wages
and productive infrastructure, MGNREGA directly tackles
livelihood security issues for a major section of the population.
• It has thus grabbed high political attention especially at the
sub-national level, ultimately influencing national policy and
securing significant budget allocations for the scheme.
• MGNREGA features strongly in the country’s INDC.
• 100 days of guaranteed wage employment;
• All rural households who are willing to work
(833 million people live in rural areas)
• At least 1/3 must be women
• Almost half of approved works linked to environment
Central release funds US$5.9 billion
Total expenditure US$7 billion
Total wage expenditure US$4.9 billion
Number of households getting jobs 48.2 million
Average number of person/days per
household in a year 49
Women participation rate 55 per cent
Average wage US$2.5/day
Average cost per person US$3.4 /pp/day
• Legal backing of the scheme has ensured political attention and adequate
budgetary allocation since its inception.
• Strong participation of local institutions in the programme design,
• Direct payment to bank accounts of beneficiaries reduces leakages and
supports financial inclusion for poorer sectors of the economy;
• Information technology and infrastructure play important role to improve
efficiency and effectiveness;
• The investments provide climate resilient and livelihood-linked assets in
addition to wage guarantee for the poor.
• More efforts need to go into output-based monitoring (rather than only
“jobs-done” approach) and to securing long-term quality of these
• Babu, VS and Rao, KH (2010) Impact of MGNREGS on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes: Studies conducted in
8 states. National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad.
• Banerjee, K and Saha, P (2010) The NREGA, the Maoists and the developmental woes of the Indian State. Economic
and Political Weekly. 55.
• Bhakta, P, (2017) How the Aadhaar-based payment modes work. The Economic Times, Delhi.
• Dreze, J, (2015) The digging-holes myth, Opinion. The Indian Express.
• Ghosh, J, (2015) India's rural employment programme is dying a death of funding cuts, Employment. The Guardian,
• Government of India (2014) Report to the people: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.
Ministry of Rural Development, Department of Rural Development, New Delhi.
• Jaitley, A (2015) Budget 2015: MGNREGA gets more funds from Narendra Modi government. The Economic Times, New
• Kaur, N, Steele P, Barnwal, A (2017) The Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA), India -Country
study summary. In: Porras, I et al (eds), Conditional transfers, poverty and ecosystems: National Programmes Highlights
series. International Institue of Environment and Development, London.
• Liu, Y and Barret, C (2013) Guaranteed Employment and the Poor, The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme, Project note 01. IFPRI, Washington D.C.
• MGNREGA Division (2017) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005: Performance, initiatives
and strategies (FY15-15 & FY16-17). Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, Delhi.
• Padma, K (2015) MGNREGA and rural distress in India. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Invention. 4, 67-76.
• Pani, N and Lyer, C (2011) Evaluation of the Impact of Processes in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee scheme in Karnataka Bangalore National Institute of Advanced Studies.
• Shah, M (2016) Should India do away with the MGNREGA? The Indian Journal of Labour Economics. 59, 125-153.
• Tiwari, R, Somashekhar, HI, Parama, VRR, Murthy, IK, Mohan Kumar, MS, Mohan Kumar, BK, Parate, H, Varma, M,
Malaviya, S, Rao, AS, Sengupta, A, Kattumuri, R, Ravindranath, NH (2011) MGNREGA for environmental service
enhancement and vulnerability reduction: rapid appraisal in Chitradurga district, Karnataka. Economic and Political
Weekly. 46, 39-47.
Type of programmes
• Working for Water, focuses on the removal of alien invasive species
from waterways, combined with job creation
• Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes, focus
on job creation, skills development, and environmental conservation
and sustainability through infrastructure-related projects. One of its
projects is Working for the Coast, which hires and trains people
from coastal communities to protect and conserve coastal
environments and estuaries
• Working for Wetlands, promotes co-operative governance and
partnerships that support the protection, rehabilitation and
sustainable use of wetlands
• Working on Fire, promotes integrated fire management to help
protect lives, livelihoods and ecosystem services.
Detailed environmental targeting
Local poverty &
Local household income
Mean living level of income
Direct dependence on
Protection status of the land
Invasive alien species
infestation (IASI) levels
Wetlands/river health and
Climate change mitigation
Climate change adaptation
Ecosystem service targeting
Water flow demand
Existing EPWP projects
Spatial biodiversity priorities
Fire management & risk
Security of NRM investment
Fire risk and vulnerability
Lessons and challenges
• Tackle high-level social problems in ways that contribute to
• Umbrella programme brings environmental and socio-economic
objectives with a clear instrument (job creation).
- Bureaucratic, eg delays in payments, which can be especially harmful for
the vulnerable participant groups. Local authorities can be inefficient and
often ineffective. NGOs, private sector agencies and other commercial
entities tend to respond better.
- Long-term challenges, e.g. securing sustained control of invasive plants
in cleared areas. It is unclear the obligations of the receiving landowners.
- Challenges unlocking significant investments from the water sector
• Department of Environmental Affairs (2016) Annual Performance Plan 2016/17, Pretoria.
• Department of Environmental Affairs, Working for Water Programme.
• Government of South Africa (2011) South Africa Working for the Environment. Department of
Environmental Affairs, Pretoria.
• Lieuw-Kie-Song, M (2009) 'The South African Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP),
2004-2014' Presentation at the Conference on Employment Gaurantee Policies, New York, 22
• Marais, C and Wannenburgh AM (2008) Restoration of water resources (natural capital)
through the clearing of invasive alien plants from riparian areas in South Africa — Costs and
water benefits. South African Journal of Botany 74 (3):526-537.
• National Treasury (2016) Estimates of National Expenditure. National Treasury, South Africa.
• Porras, I and Neves, B (2006) South African Working for Water project profile: Markets for
Watershed Services - country profiles. IIED, London.
• Turpie, J, Marais, C and Blignaut, JN (2008) The working for water programme: evolution of a
payments for ecosystem services mechanism that addresses both poverty and ecosystem
service delivery in South Africa. Ecological Economics 65 (4):788-798.
Stages of SLCP
Stage II: Full
Stage III: Retreat phase
Stage IV: New round
The programme was first piloted in 1999 in the three provinces
of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Guansu with 381,500 ha of sloping
lands converted to forest lands (FEDRC and SFA, 2004 report).
The pilot areas were expanded to more provinces in the
The programme was expanded to up to 25 provinces
gradually from 2002 forward. About 14.67 million ha of
farmland had been converted to forestland (9 million ha) or
grassland (5.67 million ha) during the period. It involved 32
million households and 124 million rural people (FEDRC and
SFA, 2008 report). The payments were in grains during
2002-2004, and have been in cash since 2005.
There were no new conversions and the payment rate was cut by half for the
already converted lands. The payment rate in Phase II was 100 kg of
grains/mu/year for 8 years for conversion of croplands to ecological forest lands in
the Yellow River Basin, which was equivalent to US$260/ha/yr, plus tree
seedlings. The rate was cut by half to be US$130/ha/yr (FEDRC and SFA, 2009
report). The other half of funds were invested in livelihood support activities for the
households who converted their lands to non-farmland (Song et al., 2014)
An additional 2.8 million ha of cropland will be converted to
forestland or grassland during this period. The target areas will
be i) poor areas; and ii) sloping crop lands with 15-25 degree of
gradient in the water source areas or crop lands with more than
25 degree of gradient in non-water-source areas (FEDRC and
SFA, 2016). Poverty alleviation was explicitly added to the
Programme’s objectives (Liu and Lan, 2015).
and Reform Commission
Funding from central
governments in 82%
Responsible for meeting
technical support and
32 million households
between 2002 and 2012
promotion of local
SLCP within the eco-compensation portfolio
in Qinghai Province
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total eco-compensation investments
(Total 458 billion Yuan)
Programme (458 billion Yuan
Sloping Land Conversion
Natural Forest Protection
Protective Forests in the Three
Wetland Eco-compensation 0%
Subsidy and Reward Funds for
Returning Grazing Land to
Public Transfer for Key
Ecological Functional Zone 21%
of Qinghai Lake Watershed 1%
Ecological Rehabilitation in
Sanjiangyuan Region 27%
of Ecological Rehabilitation of
Qilian Mountain 1%
Sloping Lands Conversion
• Barton, D, K, Benavides and M, Miranda (2012) Analysing spatial PES priorities in the Osa Peninsula using the property cadastre. In: PESILA-REDD: Payments for
Ecosystem Services in Latin America in the context of REDD integrating methods for evaluating the enabling conditions and cost-effectiveness of PES (2011-2014).
• Barton, David N, Primmer, E, Ring, I, Adamowicz, V, Robalindo, J, Blumentrath, S and Rusch, G (2011) Empirical analysis of policymixes in biodiversity conservation
– spatially explicit ‘policyscape’ approaches. In: 9th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, Istanbul, 14-17 June 2011.
• Belt and Road Portal, May 2017. The Belt and Road Ecological and Environmental Cooperation Plan. Belt and Road Portal:
• Braimoh, AK and Huang HQ (eds) (2014). Vulnerability of land systems in Asia. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester.
• Duan, W, Lang, Z, Wen, Y (2015) The Effects of the Sloping Land Conversion Program on poverty alleviation in the Wuling Mountainous Area of China. Small-scale
Forestry 14 (3):331–350.
• FEDRC and SFA (various) A Report for Monitoring and Assessment of the Socio-economic Impacts of China's Key Forestry Programs. Beijing: China Forestry
Publishing House. Individual reports in Chinese for years 2004, 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2016.
• He, J (2014) Governing forest restoration. Local case studies of sloping land conversion program in Southwest China. Forest Policy and Economics 46:30-38.
• Huang (2016) Big Floods in 1998. http://goo.gl/BdY0Fk
• Jin, L and Wenjuan, Z (2010) Conference Paper 1: Eco-Compensation in the Environmental Policy Tool Kit. In: Zhang Q et al. (eds.) Payments for Ecological
Services and Eco-Compensation: Practices and Innovations in the People’s Republic of China. Asian Development Bank, Manila.
• Li, H, Yao, S, Yin, R, Liu, G (2015) Assessing the decadal impact of China's sloping land conversion program on household income under enrollment and earning
differentiation. Forest Policy and Economics 61:95-103.
• Liu, Z and Jin, L (2015) The Sloping Land Conversion Program in China: Effect on the Livelihood Diversification of Rural Households. World Development 70:147-
• NDRC (2016) Developing Gross Ecosystem Product Accounting for Eco-Compensation (Interim Report). In: ADB TA-9040 (PRC). Project Group. National
Development Reform Comission, Kunming.
• SFA (2014) SFA’s Task Force on Assessment of Socio-economic Impacts of Key Forestry Programmes: ten-year's Review on Assessment of the Socio-economic
Impacts of National Key Forestry Programmes. Forestry Economics 1:10-21.
• Song, X, Peng, C, Zhou, G, Jiang, H and Wang, W (2014) Chinese Grain for Green Program led to highly increased soil organic carbon levels: a meta-analysis.
Scientific reports 4:4460.
• UNEP (2016) Green is gold: the strategy and actions of China's Ecological Civilization. UNDP, Geneva.
• Wang, C and Maclaren, V (2012) Evaluation of economic and social impacts of the sloping land conversion program. A case study in Dunhua County, China. Forest
Policy and Economics 14 (1):50-57.
• Wang, C, Pang, W and Hong, J (2017) Impact of a regional payment for ecosystem service program on the livelihoods of different rural households. Journal of
Cleaner Production 164:1058-1067.
• Xu, Z, Bennett, M, Tao, R, Xu, J (2004) China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program four years on: current situation, pending issues. Special Issue: Forestry in China –
Policy, Consumption and Production in Forestry’s Newest Superpower. The International Forestry Review 6 (3-4):317-326.
• Yin, R, Liu, C, Zhao, Yao, S and Liu, H (2014) The implementation and impacts of China's largest payment for ecosystem services program as revealed by
longitudinal household data. Land Use Policy 40:45-55.
• Yin, R, Zhao, M and Yao, S (2013) Designing and implementing payments for ecosystem services programs: what lessons can be learned from China's experience of
restoring degraded cropland? Forest Policy and Economics 35:66-72.
• Zhang, Q, Bennett, M. T., Kannan, K and Jin, L (2009) 'Payments for ecological services and eco-compensation: Practices and innovations in the People’s Republic
of China'. Paper presented at the International Conference on Payments for Ecological Services, Mandaluyong City, 6–7 September 2009.
Tools and systems for implementation
Regulation: Prohibition of
deforest reduces opportunity
cost of forest/s, but places
protection costs on the
Local facilitators: officially
registered, they provide
technical and logistic
support to landowners
(e.g. management plans,
paperwork) and first stop
Reward: Cash payment to
conditional payments per
hectare for forest protection and
reforestation helps compensate
for cost of protection.
Rules on rent capture:
PES Law creates rules and
the system to extract rents
from users (water users) and
polluters (through fuel tax),
and international sources.
Independently managed, it
collects revenues from
multiple sources and provides
appointed, manages and
Ecosystem services as
inputs to production or
for final users
subsidy (1) Gov budget
WB loan KfW grant
1995 1.36 1.4 8.3
1996 1.47 1.5 7.5
1997 1.63 1.6 7.3
1998 2.16 1.15 3.3 13.5
1999 1.45 2.20 3.6 13.4
2000 1.30 1.99 3.3 10.9
2001 1.23 2.31 0.65 0.07 0.01 4.3 12.7
2002 1.20 2.95 2.84 0.08 0.02 0.01 7.1 19.4
2003 0.96 1.34 2.84 1.65 0.15 0.02 0.02 7.0 17.4
2004 1.06 1.48 3.46 0.79 0.15 0.00 0.00 7.0 15.5
2005 0.21 1.56 3.54 1.04 0.20 0.02 0.02 6.6 12.9
2006 6.21 3.12 0.94 0.24 0.02 0.02 10.6 18.4
2007 7.73 0.83 0.26 0.06 8.9 14.2
2008 8.29 0.64 0.23 0.03 0.06 9.2 13.0
2009 9.34 4.21 0.30 0.29 0.05 0.16 14.2 18.6
2010 17.74 6.36 0.00 0.15 0.02 0.08 24.3 29.9
2011 16.85 9.67 0.26 0.60 0.02 0.01 27.4 32.1
2012 19.93 4.94 0.11 0.00 25.0 28.0
2013 19.99 11.18 0.16 0.24 31.3 33.4
2014 20.44 0.14 0.21 20.6 21.0
2015 26.27 0.32 0.20 26.6 26.8
2016 24.74 0.03 0.29 24.8 25.2
2017 28.85 0.02 0.004 28.9 28.9
Total 14.02 221.36 52.80 6.45 3.19 0.07 0.26 1.25 298.1 428.2
5% 74% 18% 2% 1% 0.0% 0.1% 0.4% 100%
Previous forest subsidy
They are integrated with
PES from 2005 onwards
Direct negotiation with
HEP provides basis for
water tax revamp (25%
earmarked for PES). Large
utility (CNFL) continues
providing extra funding for
works in their watersheds.
Government funding are the
main source of funds.
OTC sales (certificates) show
the potential for internal
markets but revenues
collected still low.
Sources of finance for PES in Costa Rica
• (Soft) earmarking funds from fuel and water tariffs that internalise the
• Funds target specific areas (e.g. critical areas for water
• Struggle to get resources back from main budget pot.
• Uncertain space in Kyoto and voluntary markets
• FONAFIFO has a portfolio of investment ready for specific or over-
the-counter carbon sales – but most sales are still within the country
• Internally supporting strengthening of land tenure and timber markets
• Creation of a Biodiversity Conservation Fund
• Longer-term (or guaranteed renewal) protection contracts
• Looking for strategic investors
• Arriagada, RA, Ferraro, P, Silis, E, Pattanayak, S and Cordero, S (2010) Do payments for environmental services reduce
deforestation? A farm level evaluation from Costa Rica. Land Economics 88 (2):382–399.
• Barton, DN, Benavides, K, Chacón-Cascante, A, Le Coq, JF, Quiros, MM, Porras, I, Primmer, E and Ring, I (2017) Payments for
Ecosystem Services as a Policy Mix: Demonstrating the institutional analysis and development framework on conservation policy
instruments. Environmental Policy and Governance 27 (5):404-421.
• Chacón-Cascante, A, Ibrahim, M, De Clerk, F, Vignola, R and Robalino, J (2012) Costa Rica: National level assessment of the role of
economic instruments in the conservation policymix. CATIE / NINA.
• Lansing, DM (2017) Understanding Smallholder Participation in Payments for Ecosystem Services: the Case of Costa Rica. Human
Ecology 45 (1):77-87.
• Porras, I, Alterio, H, Vardon, M, Pagiola, S and Bastad, K (2016) Showing the worth: NCA and the design of payments for ecosystem
services.The World Bank, Washington D.C.
• Porras, I, Barton, DN, Miranda, M and Chacón-Cascante, A (2013) Learning from 20 years of Payments for Ecosystem Services in
Costa Rica. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
• Porras, I, Miranda, M, Barton, DN and Chacón-Cascante, A (2012) De Rio a Rio+: Lecciones de 20 años de experiencia en servicios
ambientales en Costa Rica. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
• Robalino, J, Pfaff, A and Villalobos, L (2011) Assessing the impact of institutional design of payments for environmental services: the
Costa Rican experience. Ecosystem services from Agriculture and Agroforestry: Measurement and Payments, Rapidel, B et al. (ed.).
• Robalino, J, Pffaf, A, Sánchez-Azofeifa, A, Alpízar, F, León, C and Rodríguez. CM (2008) Deforestation impacts of environmental
services payments. Costa Rica’s PSA Program 2000-2005. In: Environment for Development Discussion Paper Series, Washington
• Sánchez-Azofeifa, A, Pfaff, A, Robalino, J and Boomhower, J (2007) Costa Rica’s Payment for Environmental Services Program:
intention, implementation, and impact. Conservation Biology 21 (5):1165-1173.
• WAVES (2016) Costa Rica: WAVES Country Report 2016. The World Bank, Washington D.C.
• World Bank, CIAT, and CATIE (2015) Climate-Smart agriculture in Costa Rica. CSA Country Profiles for Latin America Series. The
World Bank Group, Washington D.C.
Institutional set up
Federal Rights Law
(water users), Federal
Approval of cash
e.g. Avoided deforestation,
providers of ES
• Aemi, P, Neves, B and Jost, S (2013) Forest Conservation in Mexico: Ten years of Payments for
Ecosystem Services, Case studies on Remuneration of Positive Externalities (RPE)/ Payments for
Environmental Services (PES). Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome.
• Alatorre-Troncoso, A, Aronson, G, Radeloff, V, Ramirez-Reyes, C, Shapiro, E, Sims, K and Yañez-
Pagans, P (2014) Mexico’s national payments for ecosystem services programme: in the wrong place
at the right time: Gap analysis and assessment of conservation success. Imperial College, London.
• Alix-Garcia, J.M., Sims, KRE and Yañez-Pagansa, P (2013) Only one tree from each seed?
environmental effectiveness and poverty alleviation in programs of Payments for Ecosystem Services.
RFF Academic Seminar Resources for the Future, Washington DC.
• Alix-Garcia, J.M., Aronson, G, Radeloff, V, Ramirez-Reyes, C, Shapiro, E, Sims, K and Yañez-
Pagans, P (2014) Environmental and socioeconomic impacts of Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem
Services Program, Grantee Final Report. International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), New
• Corbera, E, Gonzáles, C and Brown, K (2009) Institutional dimensions of Payments for Ecosystem
Services: An analysis of Mexico's carbon forestry programme. Ecological Economics 68, 743-761.
• Muñoz-Piña, C, Guevara, A, Torres, JM and Braña Varela, J (2008) Paying for the hydrological
services of Mexico's forests: analysis, negotiations and results. Ecological Economics 65, 725-736.
• Salafsky, N (2011) Integrating development with conservation: A means to a conservation end, or a
mean end to conservation? Biological Conservation 144, 973-978.
• Hilsa fish: Anadromous
• Bangladesh accounts for
about 60% of total hilsa
catch in the Bay of Bengal
• 12% of total fish catch in
• 60% of marine capture
• 1% of GDP
• Employs up to 2.5 mill
people along the supply
• Programme addresses
stagnation of hilsa
fisheries from overfishing
• Provides compensation
for lost earnings during
temporary fishing bans
• In-kind payments (rice)
Policy portfolio - Bangladesh
AIGAs (e.g. sewing machines)
Jatka: Nov – May
Brood: 5 days before and
after the full moon in the
month of Ashvin (October)
Jatka conservation week:
“today’s jatka, tomorrow’s hilsa”
TV, Radio, Print, boat rallies,
does the Jatka PES
in Bangladesh work?
Ministry of Fisheries
Ministry of Disaster
Upazila Chief Officer
Upazila Relief and
Chairman of Union
The hilsa fish value chain
River ecosystem inputs, affected by fishing
ban several times/year
Financial inputs Loans from Dadondar,
Mohajon or Araddar (lends money and usually
keep the catch), to a lesser scale from
associations, NGOSs, or banks (minor role as
fishermen do not have access) ;
In-kind PES as food compensation during ban.
Technical inputs (usually located at Landing
Center): Boat, fitting (nets, engine, oil, ice),
labour (family, hired)
Repairs and maintenance
Safety inputs: Radio, communications,
weather information, protection from
navy/police; Insurance (not currently available)
Freshly caught hilsa fish, few
storage facilities, prices fixed
from aratdars and
ensures hilsa fish
goes to aratdar in
Wholesale hilsa fish
throughout the year,
Landing center facilities
(access to –or lack of - to
physical location, water,
electricity, storage, quick
Financial inputs most aratdars
have their own funding, with
occasional loans at 12-17%.
Technical inputs include ice,
storage, space at landing center;
Transport providers: Truck,
rickshaws, boats bringing buyers,
Specialised retailer for high
quality product abroad
Sale directly to restaurants
and/ or final consumers
High quality , first grade
hilsa fish, all year round
especially for festivals.
Manages direct contacts
with suppliers like beparis
and aratdars and need top
quality packaging and
transport to ensure
freshness and quality.for
Primary market: extraction
Secondary market: trading wholesale
(national and export)
Prices determined by auctions
Prices fixed by buyers
• Ahmed, AU, Quisumbing, AR, Nasreen, M, Hoddinott, JF and Bryan, E (2009) Comparing food and cash transfers to the ultra poor in
Bangladesh. Research Monograph 163. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC.
• DoF (2012) National Fisheries Week 2012. Department of Fisheries, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka.
• Engel, S (2015) The Devil in the Detail: A practical guide on designing payments for environmental services. International Review of
Environmental and Resource Economics 9 (1-2):131-177.
• Haldar, GC and Ali, L (2014) The cost of compensation: Transaction and administration costs of hilsa fish management in
Bangladesh. IIED Working Paper. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
• Islam, Md M, Mohammed, E and Ali, L (2016) Economic incentives for sustainable hilsa fishing in Bangladesh: An analysis of the legal
and institutional framework. Marine Policy 68:8-22.
• Islam, SB and Habib, Md M (2013) Suppy chain management in fishing industry: a case study. International Journal of Supply Chain
Management 2 (2):40-50.
• Matin, I (2000) Targeted development programmes for the extreme poor : experiences from BRAC experiments. Bangladesh Rural
Advancement Committee, Bangladesh.
• Matin, I and Hulme, D (2003) Programs for the poorest: Learning from the IGVGD Program in Bangladesh. World Development 31
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Science Association (AMSA) Annual Conference. Geelong, 5-9 July 2015.
• Mome, M, Personal communication, Bangladesh. September 2014.
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fisheries in Bangladesh: A value chain analysis. Marine Policy 84:60-68.
• Porras, I, Mohammed, E, Ali, L, Ali, Md S and Hossain, Md B (2017) Leave no one behind: Power and profits in hilsa fishery in
Bangladesh: a value chain analysis. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
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Workshop, Dhaka, 6-17 September 2012.
• Uraguchi, ZB (2011) Social protection for redistributive justice: socio-economic and political drivers of vulnerability to food insecurity in
Bangladesh and Ethiopia. In: International Conference on Social Protection for Social Justice, Brighton, 13-15 April 2011.
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44% 26% 26%
Percent allocations are negotiated with the communities, and can change
BF theory of change
Based on four points:
• Intermediate results that should be achieved by the
providers in terms of changes in practices.
• Direct results anticipated from rewards foreseen in the
• Complementary actions to be realised by the leader of
the scheme or partners.
• Complementary actions outside the governability of the
FAS (2017) provides clear details on the specific
components of this theory of change.
Clear gender agenda
Includes objectives, resources, indicators and monitoring.
The programme has defined clear strategies for action,
• Control of cash resources by women.
• Incentive for participation of women in participative planning
workshops, leadership meetings and other processes of
• Incentivising leadership of women in projects that generate
income and enterprise.
• Educational actions on the rights of women.
• Support for the creation and strengthening of clubs and
associations of women.
Most important investments for the
communities, as perceived by communities
• Based on the FAS experience implementing
the BFP, there are five essential elements to
build an environment of trust for PES schemes:
-Effective spaces for dialogue
-Valuing positive leadership
-Shared agenda with short-term impacts (to show
-Presence, proximity, availability and connections.
• Agustsson, K, Garibjana, A, Rojas, E and Vatn, A (2014) An assessment of the Forest
Allowance Programme in the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve in Brazil. International
Forestry Review 16, 87-102.
• Börner, J, Wunder, S, Reimer, F, Bakkegaard, RK, Viana, V, Tezza, J, Pinto, T, Lima, L and
Marostica, S (2013) Promoting forest stewardship in the Bolsa Floresta Programme: local
livelihood strategies and preliminary impacts. CIFOR, Rio de Janeiro.
• FAS (2016) Relatório de Atividades 2016.
• FAS (2017) Designing innovative schemes for payments for environmental services. Inter-
American Development Bank, Washington DC.
• Tersitsch, C (2017) The impact of public policies on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek, Bonn.
• Viana, V (2008) Bolsa Floresta (Forest Conservation Allowance): an innovative mechanism to
promote health in traditional communities in the Amazon. Estudos Avançados 22.
• Viana, V, Tezza, J, Salviati, V, Ribenboim, G, Megid, T and Santos, C (2013) Programa Bolsa
Floresta no estado do Amazonas. In: Pagiola, S, Carrascosa von Glehn, H and Taffarello, D.
(eds). Experiências de Pagamentos por Serviços Ambientais no Brasil. Secretaria de Meio
Ambiente, São Paulo.
Watershared: Reciprocal Agreements for
Rewards: Selection criteria
is a simple mix of
hydrological rules of thumb,
conservation priorities and
with light-touch monitoring.
Institutions and tools:
• Water utilities
• NGO (Natura)
• Solutions reached by
• Rewards are social
recognitions of mutually
“Checklist” for targeting
• Watershed is in or close to an important conservation area
(such as a protected area, or an important bird area, etc).
• A hydrological service is being provided.
• Watersheds should be small and simple.
• Theory of change: The smaller the watershed, the more
likely that upstream actions can be directly linked to
hydrological benefits downstream, and land managers and
water users can be more clearly identified. Furthermore, the
smaller the watershed, the more likely that actions upstream
actually do affect downstream users.
• Asquith, N (2016) Watershared: Adaptation, mitigation, watershed protection and economic
development in Latin America, Inside Stories on climate compatible development. Climate &
Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).
• Asquith, N and Vargas, MT (2007) Fair deals for watershed services in Bolivia, Natural
Resource Issues International Institute for Environment and Development, London
• Asquith, N, Vargas, MT and Wunder, S (2008) Selling two environmental services: In-kind
payments for bird habitat and watershed protection in Los Negros. Bolivia Ecological
Economics 65, 675-684.
• Asquith, NM. (2011) Reciprocal Agreements for Water: An Environmental Management
Revolution in the Santa Cruz Valleys. Harvard Review of Latin America 3: 58-60.
• Asquith, NM (2013) Investing in Latin America’s Water Factories: Incentives and Institutions for
Climate Compatible Development. Harvard Review of Latin America 1: 21-4.
• Botazzi, P, Jones, JPG and Crespo, D (in review) Payment for ecosystem “self-service”:
exploring farmers’ motivation to participate in a conservation incentive scheme in the Bolivian
Andes Ecological Economics.
• Le Tellier, V, Carrasco, A and Asquith, N (2009) Attempts to determine the effects of forest
cover on stream flow by direct hydrological measurements in Los Negros, Bolivia. Forest
Ecology and Management 258, 1881-1888.
• McKenzie, RB and Dwight, RL (2017) Microeconomics for MBAs: The economic way of
thinking for managers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Links to wider agenda: SDGs
get paid to
SDG1: Reduce poverty
through (1) Short-term
improvement in food security
and cash payments from PES
and (2) long-term investment
in resilience to climate change
SDG 2: Food
through promotion of
SDG 13: Reduce climate change
threat through offsetting unavoidable
SDG 17: Means of
implementation through a
certified ethical carbon market
in partnership with local
SDG 8: Growth and
employment through creation of
multiple jobs along carbon value
chain, especially for youth and
women (monitoring, technical
support, nurseries, etc)
SDG 15: Protect local ecosystems and
biodiversity by using native species and
promoting conservation and enhancement of
Ability to demonstrate impact: monitoring
Farmers Project developers Independent
Seek added value to
activities must combine
with existing farming
to access project
Absorb risk of
Carbon as single
activity or part of
Must comply with
Manager and seller.
carbon as over-the-
Establish criteria to
compliance or CSR.
Useful feedback on the
quality of their activities
but may divert from
other activities. Helps
understand when they
may be at risk of default
Legitimacy to access
but need to keep
Trust that is reflected
in market share.
Trust re. legitimacy
of transaction is
reflected in prices
PES in the Hindu Kush Himalayas
• No one-size fits all, national programme (except China). But there
are emerging local deals:
- Markhor (Siberian ibex) hunting in Pakistan, where 80 per cent of the total
hunting revenues go back to local communities
- incentive to communities for increased carbon stock through REDD+ pilots in
- sharing of hydropower revenue with local government in Nepal, where 10 per
cent of the hydropower revenue is ploughed back into local government
- municipal support to local communities living in the upstream water source at
Palampur city of the Himanchal state in India
- compensation scheme for ecological restoration in China, where the
government of China provides cash eco-compensation to local communities
based on per unit of land for wetland restoration.
• Bhatta, L, Khadgi, A, Rai, R, Tamang, B, Timalsina, K and Wahid, S (2017) Designing community-based payment scheme for ecosystem services: a
case from Koshi Hills. Environment, Development and Sustainability, Nepal.
• Bhatta, L and Kotru, R (2012) Paper 10: Learning perspectives and analytical framework for framing PES in Nepal. In: Acharya, K et al. (eds).
Leveraging and landscapes; conservation beyond boundaries. Nepal Foresters Association, Kathmandu.
• Bhatta, L, Oort, BHv, Rucevska, I and Baral, H (2014) Payment for ecosystem services: possible instrument for managing ecosystem services in
Nepal. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 10, 289-299
• ICIMOD (2010) Climate change impact and vulnerability in the Eastern Himalayas– synthesis report. International Centre for Integrated Mountain
• Jodha, NS (2005) Adaptation strategies against growing environmental and social vulnerabilities in mountain areas. Himalayan Journal of Science
• Karki, M, Sharma, S, Mahat TJ, Tuladhar, A and Aksha, S (2012) Sustainable mountain development in the Hindu Kush — Himalaya: From Rio
1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond. ICIMOD, Katmandu.
• Liu, Z and Lan, J (2015) The Sloping Land Conversion Program in China: Effect on the Livelihood Diversification of Rural Households. World
Development 70, 147-161.
• MEA (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water. Synthesis. World Resource Institute, Washington DC.
• Patterson, T, Bhatta, L.D., Alfthan, B, Agrawal, NK, Basnet, D, Sharma, E and van Oort, B (2017) Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the
Himalayas: a ‘cookbook’ for emerging IES practitioners in the region. ICIMOD, CICERO, GRED, Arendal.
• Porras, I, Barton, DN, Miranda, M and Chacón-Cascante, A (2013) Learning from 20 years of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Costa Rica.
International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
• Sandhu, H and Sandhu, S (2015) Poverty, development, and Himalayan ecosystems. Ambio 44, 297-307.
• Singh, S (2010) Chapter 11: Payments for ecosystem services (PES) in India from the bottom-up. CEECED Handbook: Ecological Economics from
the Bottom-Up. CEECEC, pp. 226-234.
• WMD (2015) Integrating PES & REDD+ in Bhutan Project, PES Field Documentation Report. Department of Forests and Park Services, Thimphu.
• WMD (2016) Draft approaches to payment for environmental services (PES), including REDD+, and its relevance for Bhutan. Department of
Forests and Park Services, Thimphu.
• Zhang, Q, Bennett, MT, Kannan, K and Jin, L (2009) Payments for ecological services and eco-compensation: Practices and innovations in the
People’s Republic of China. In: Proceedings from the International Conference on Payments for Ecological Services, Mandaluyong City, 6-7
This work represents the reflections of a wide range of
practitioners, researchers and policy makers involved in the
daily implementation of conditional transfers and payments for
ecosystem services programmes. We would like to thank the
ESPA programme for providing the funding to conduct this
review, as well as the space to access the very latest scientific
advances on ecosystems and poverty alleviation in developing
countries. We would like to especially thank Paul Steele,
Bhaskar Vira, Esteve Corbera, Virgilio Viana, Mahesh Poudyal,
Kate Schreckenberg and Julia Jones for their insightful
comments and feedback along various stages of this work. We
would also like to specially thank Zaiza Khan and Cinzia
Cimmino for their support in editing this document.
All errors and omission remain the responsibility of the authors.
Ina Porras and Nigel Asquith, 2018
For more information and materials visit:
Notes by slide
This guidance focuses on the use of conditional transfers (CTs) – such as PES – in the context of ecosystems and poverty alleviation. CTs are a type of economic incentive that
often works alongside regulatory instruments such as standards and prohibitions. Incentive-based policies provide inducements – monetary and otherwise – to encourage good
behaviour (ie investments in watershed protection) or discourage bad practices (ie pollution or forest degradation). In this module we discuss some of the main elements of
designing CTs for ecosystems and poverty alleviation. Modules 2 and 3 bring in-depth lessons from practical experiences. How to use this handbook: The handbook is organised
into four modules, accompanied by downloadable PowerPoint presentations and links to other downloadable materials.
We start with the observation that PES is not a stand-alone concept that was recently developed within the conservation movement. Rather, PES is a form of conditional transfer
(CT) with a strong environmental component (Ma et al., 2017; Rodríguez et al., 2011) that in practice often operates alongside other policy instruments (Barton et al., 2017b). We
therefore base many of our lessons on the extensive global experiences in conditional transfers for social protection, and in particular the large- scale public works programmes that
have already had important environmental impacts (Devereux, 2009; Kakwani et al., 2005; Koohi-Kamali, 2010; McCord, 2013; Uraguchi, 2011).
We build on previous publications and guides (see Table 2) with new research findings, such as those from ESPA researchers, and add practical knowledge of practitioners and
researchers on key enabling conditions for success, brought together at several recent international workshops in Cambridge, UK (Sept 2016), Kunming-PRC (November 2016) and
Chongqing, PRC (December 2017).
Designed carefully, conditional incentives can contribute to the wellbeing of people, especially poor and vulnerable groups. We look at two types of schemes to evaluate how CT
and PES programmes have managed to reach scale, and to assess if lessons from CTs for social protection can help design programmes for the maintenance of ecosystem
Direct environmental interventions using social conditional transfers, such as the South African Environmental Public Works Programme. Although focused on social outcomes,
such as jobs and poverty alleviation, some programmes have had large-scale environmental impacts.
Programmes that seek to change behaviour towards positive environmental actions, using different conditional incentive packages that include mixes of cash and in-kind rewards.
Some of these are top-down national programmes, such as the China Sloping Lands Conversion within the Eco Compensation Programme, or bottom-up initiatives such as water
deals in South America and carbon offsets for mangrove protection in Kenya.
We look at how these programmes manage to achieve scales, either by `scaling up’ by designing and implementing national programmes, such as India, China and Costa Rica, or
`scaling out’ by replicating small-scale programmes for watershed protection in South America and Nepal or community deals in voluntary carbon markets
SEE MODULE 2 FOR DETAILS. We looked at a wide variety of programmes that:
Managed to go beyond “project” to “programme”
Managed to achieve scale
Are promising examples of incentives towards stewardship for good ecosystem management.
We also looked at two types of conditional transfers: 1) Conditional transfers supporting direct interventions through job schemes (e.g. gully control) – which ARE NOT PES, but
provide good examples of how to engage with landless, poor/vulnerable people. These programmes also have environmental works in their portfolio and can benefit from
experiences from PES elsewhere. And 2) Conditional transfers supporting positive changes in behaviour, more in line with PES idea. Some are national programmes (scaled up) or
replication of local-based initiatives (scale out).
India. Example of Terracing in Hilly areas – India. http://www.nrega.ap.gov.in/Nregs/WorksList.jsp
The world’s largest works-based social protection scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has covered all of India since 2006 and
aims at enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members
volunteer to do unskilled manual work (Kaur et al., 2017). It also provides improved productive assets and livelihood resources in rural areas, proactively ensuring social inclusion
and strengthening Panchayat Raj (local government) institutions. The types of projects included are public works linked to natural resource management (mostly watershed-related
projects), improving conditions of assets for vulnerable sections of society, and building common and rural infrastructure.
MGNREGA provides a key example for payments for ecosystem services (PES) to learn about successful combinations of social and environmental objectives to achieve political
support, resources and scale. At the same time, PES experiences elsewhere can provide MGNREGA with ideas on how to improve long-term environmental impacts on the ground.
The key characteristics of this programme are:
employment for all rural households (one member per household) who are willing to work (100 days/year)
free registration, with a job guaranteed within 15 days of application
fixed minimum wage, with weekly payments
at least a third of employees must be women.
Implementing this programme in a country with over 833 million people living in rural areas requires a massive effort. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is responsible for
ensuring the adequate and timely delivery of resources and funds to the states and for reviewing, monitoring and evaluating the use of these resources. It has also developed a
management information system that provides real-time information on the implementation on of MGNREGA at each level. The programme has been implemented in stages since
its introduction in 2006. It was introduced initially in 200 districts, extended to 130 more districts in 2007–2008 and now covers all rural districts (Government of India, 2014). Actual
implementation is carried out by local governments. According to MGNREGA Division (2017) some of the main limitations have been linked to unrealistic and ineffective planning at
the local levels. Impact studies also tend to be local, with little information on impact assessment at national level. Some of the main local results are described below.
South Africa. Inclusive green growth in South Africa has been primarily pushed forward by the environmental authorities through a series of joint environmental and social protection
job schemes. The social protection programme seeks to alleviate poverty through provision of temporary work and skills development through ‘learnerships’, which are deployed to
projects to improve their local environments. Projects include, for example, clearing of alien vegetation, rehabilitation of wetlands, support of fire protection associations, waste
management programmes, coastal management and eco-tourism. Starting with a water focus, it now mobilises about US$285 per year and is managed under the Expanded Public
Works Programme (EPWP).
Targeting: The focus of the EPs is to optimise employment opportunities, broad–based black economic empowerment and poverty reduction. When prioritising investments, the
challenge is finding a balance between areas that have high biodiversity conservation value and those that have high levels of poverty (Department of Environmental Affairs,
Environmental targeting: DEA recognises the importance of developing optimisation strategies for each of their programmes, for example through the development of spatial
frameworks that will evaluate future investments through the Land User Incentive (LUI) programme, enabled by local contractors (see Table 1).
Social targeting: projects must comply with a minimum social criteria:
individuals already employed by the land user for more than 100 days of the year are not permitted to become project participants
90 per cent of temporary job days must be reserved for local people
55 per cent of temporary job days must be reserved for women, 55 per cent for youth between the ages of 16 and 35 years and 2 per cent for people with disabilities
training person days must be equal to 10 per cent of total person days
50 per cent of small, medium and micro enterprises used must have at least a 70 per cent equity stake owned by historically disadvantaged individuals.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been experimenting for many years now on eco-compensations programmes, as ways to redress missing market signals for ecosystem
services (Zhang et al., 2009). This section provides a quick insight into one of its larger programmes: the Sloping Land Conversion Programme.
The Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP, also known as “Grain for Green”) is the largest ecological restoration project in PRC and PES initiative in the developing world, with a
total current investment of more than US$69 billion (Liu and Lan, 2015). It was launched together with the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP) as a response to the
widespread flood in the PRC in 1998 and has undergone several development stages. It is a key component of the Eco-Compensation Programme, which is a compendium of
environmental policies and instruments, including environmental fiscal reform. The programme uses a series of conditional transfers alongside wider policies promoting off-farm
income to encourage ecological restoration and contribute towards PRC’s vision of EcoCivilization.
Many useful lessons can be drawn from the SLCP experience, all pointing to the crucial, inextricable link between the institutions, incentives and ultimate success of a programme.
Decentralisation under the SLCP focused disproportionately on distributing responsibilities rather than on fostering a local sense of ownership, causing the programme to expand
too fast in its phase I and first half of phase II (1999–2005) at the cost of its budget, its democratic character and effective targeting. Recognising the trade-offs inherent between
scale and targeting, the critical importance of the latter should not be understated, as revealed by the SLCP’s unintended, negative impacts on the environment (water shortages
and decreased biodiversity) and local livelihoods (lower incomes, higher inequality and disempowering of nonparticipants). Therefore, implementation, including compensation,
should be sensitive to local heterogeneity and be guided by a management strategy that is flexible, inclusive and responsive to feedback (Yin et al., 2014a). Beyond
implementation, scaling up a programme of such magnitude requires a strong focus on the initial phases of planning, demonstration and piloting, as well as on strong safeguards
that will maintain the programme’s incentive structures long after its implementation and thus guarantee its long-term success (Yin et al., 2014b; Chen et al., 2015).
Fortunately, some of the lessons learned from the previous phases of the programme have been used to re-shape the programme. For example, in its latest phase IV, the
programme is targeting only those who are poor, willing to convert, and whose crop lands are in a steep slope (25o in one case, and 15―25 o in another). Adaptive management is
vital for the programme’s success, yet absence of independent monitoring and evaluation might undermine its adaptive capacity in the long run.
The Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP, also known as “Grain for Green”) is the largest ecological restoration project in PRC and PES initiative in the developing world, with
a total current investment of more than US$69 billion (Liu and Lan, 2015). It was launched together with the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP) as a response to the
widespread flood in the PRC in 1998, and has undergo four important development stages (see Figure 3). It is a key component of the Eco-Compensation Programme, which is a
compendium of environmental policies and instruments, including environmental fiscal reform. The programme uses a series of conditional transfers alongside wider policies
promoting off-farm income to encourage ecological restoration and contribute towards PRC’s vision of EcoCivilization.
FROM NDRC (2016) – PRESENTATION DURING KUNMING CONFERENCE
The innovative character of the SLCP lies not only in its scale – targeting 25 provinces that cover about 82% of PRC’s total land area – but also in its institutional design. Its hybrid
form of governance combines a top-down approach with decentralization at the provincial and local government levels and voluntary participation at the household level. In practice,
it works by compensating farmers for the provision and improvement of ecosystem services that they facilitate by retiring part of their land from cultivation and restoring it to either
forest or grassland. In that way, it is an eco-compensation project that is distinctively different from the country’s traditional command-and-control instruments of environmental
governance (Jin and Wenjuan, 2010).
The program is planned by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) based on bottom-up applications of households who want to join the programme, and it is
implemented by the State Forestry Administration (SFA), with its finances managed by the Ministry of Finance.
After deciding on country- and provincial-level reforestation tasks, the SFA distributes the retirement quotas to provincial governments who then allocate them to the counties,
townships and, finally, to the participating households. By signing liability agreements, the local governments are held responsible for meeting the targets set by the SFA.
Accordingly, their responsibilities include allocating the quotas, targeting the enrolled areas, determining the participants, distributing payments, providing technical support and
monitoring the program’s achievements – see Figure 5.
Source: PORRAS, I. 2008. Payments for Environmental Services in Costa Rica. Ecosystem services and human well-being: Interrogating the evidence. NERC-ESRC
Transdisciplinary Seminar Series Edinburgh, June 09th 2008.
The basis of PSA:
1) Financial sustainability – by providing the revenues from fuel tax, even if the pledged amount has changed throughout the years. Also, by allowing the managing institutions to
capture payments from direct users (make international sales, deals with local users, etc)
2) Creation of the legal framework that recognises the principle
3) Institutional framework to administer the programme, allows for the financial and technical groups to work together. The managing institution, FONAFIFO, is a public
organisation managed as a private one, which gives enough flexibility to work.
4) Political support from the highest to the lowest levels – the Programme has “survived” several changes in administration and political parties
5) Participation of civil society has been key at all stages, and provides important feedback to the programme
6) Transparency and credibility from monitoring, administration, forest regents, audits, GIS, etc.
PES emerged in 1995 from the convergence of various factors that led to the 1995 Forestry Law reform (Porras et al., 2012). It was perceived as a necessary incentive to carry out
the increased level of restrictions to legal forest extraction. Emerging soon after the Rio and Kyoto conferences, the country had high expectations about the development of
instruments for carbon reduction and biodiversity. The concept of 'payment for ecosystem service', as opposed to 'forestry subsidies', provided the Ministry of Finance with a
loophole to bypass the heavy restrictions imposed by the structural adjustment reform in the country. At the same time, it provided a window of opportunity for small conservation
groups to benefit from forest incentives.
PES has now been implemented for more than 20 years. During this time, it has experimented with various instruments for raising and delivering finance for conservation. Currently,
most of its budget comes from public sources, which demonstrates long-term political support. The participation of the civil society has been instrumental in this programme, raising
awareness of its importance and helping to secure funding when it has been threatened.
PORRAS, I., BARTON, D. N., ;, MIRANDA, M. & CHACÓN-CASCANTE, A. 2013. Learning from 20 years of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Costa Rica. London: International
Institute for Environment and Development.
The National Forestry Fund (FONAFIFO) is the primary intermediary charged with administrating the PES programme.
It signs legal contracts agreeing land use with forest owners, and monitors their compliance through local forestry technical facilitators (regentes forestales). In exchange for the
payments, the landowners transfer the ‘rights’ to the ecosystem services to FONAFIFO, where they make up the wider portfolio of approved ecosystem services (ES) credits.
FONAFIFO then sells some of these credits to its buyers. The figure presents the overall structure of the programme, which is discussed in in the following sections.
*Note: (1) Certificado de abono forestal (CAF) pre-dates PES, and was a subsidy for reforestation. It overlapped with PES between 1998-2005, and phased out since 2006. Note
(2). Totals not adjusted by inflation. Source of data: FONAFIFO statistics.
Prepared by Porras and Chacón-Cascante. Source: PES Handbook – Porras & Asquith (2018)
Financial resources come mostly from domestic sources through a combination of instruments:
Fuel tax: Initially as a percentage of collection and now a fixed annual amount, it is linked to carbon emissions (average US$11.6m per year).
Water tax: Early one-to-one watershed agreements with hydroelectric companies gave way in 2006 to an allocation from water fees (25 per cent of collected revenue goes to PES,
and 25 per cent to public parks and conservation areas). Average revenues from this source reached US$3.6m between 2007 and the first half of 2010.
Loans from the World Bank to kick-start the programme, combined with some smaller grants, notably from the German Development Bank (KFW) and the Global Environmental
Agreements with private and semi-private companies interested in promoting forest protection for water protection, biodiversity conservation or landscape beauty in their areas
(for example, the tourism sector, conservation groups).
To date, most of the funding for PES comes from the government, either through central budget allocation or as loan repayments to the World Bank (through Ecomarkets).
Agreements with individual companies (CNFL, Florida Ice & Farm, and several hydroelectric companies) provide small amounts of financial resources (less than 2 per cent of all
payments made since the beginning of the programme) but have been instrumental in creating demand and support for the water tax adjustment (which succeeded in unlocking
significant new revenues). Over-the-counter sales of ES certificates (CSA) remain small but internally promising as a way of raising resources to invest at local level. One of the
reasons why they have not taken off is their relative high transaction costs in relation to money raised, compared to the other sources, especially earmarking.
Mexico’s PES programme is the combination of two previously separate programmes: the Payments for Hydrological Environmental Services Programme (PSAH) and the Program
of Payments for Carbon, Biodiversity and Agroforestry Services (PSA-CABSA). These programmes were merged in 2006, at the same time that it introduced poverty alleviation as a
programme objective (Alix-Garcia et al., 2014; Muñoz-Piña et al., 2008). It currently offers two types of cash compensation: payments for watershed services and payments for
biodiversity conservation (Aemi et al., 2013).
Implementing this programme is not an easy task. The country has nearly 125 million people, with an expanding urban network (almost 80 per cent now live in cities); a growing
economy constantly exposed to global crisis and with highly unequal distribution of wealth in the country -especially in rural areas, and for indigenous groups. Almost 80 per cent of
the country managed as ejidos (communal lands with emphasis on social benefits), a property regime that underpins the PES programme. Urban expansion and demand for
resources drives deforestation and put significant pressure on water: to supply for cities, agriculture and industry, and dealing with waste and pollution. Both water and deforestation
are considered national security issues by the government.
The programme targets private forest owners as well as ejidos. A contractual relationship is formed between the forest owner and the government’s Forestry Department
(CONAFOR), the latter assuming the role of the buyer of the environmental service. Landowners may enrol a portion of their property in which they must maintain existing forest
cover and undertake sustainable management practices. Participants can make changes to land cover in the rest of their property. Verification of forest cover is made through
satellite imagery or site visits. In the case of non-compliance, where CONAFOR verifies deforestation within the enrolled area due to conversion to agriculture or pasture, the
participants are removed from the programme. Payments are also reduced for deforestation under natural causes such as fire or pests.
This long-term programme provides several lessons. It has clear sources of financing based on a legal mandate, and clear operational rules that promote accountability. The
programme has been adapting along the way, improving its focus environmental impacts – at least in terms of targeting areas of high deforestation risk. The programme works in
both private and communal lands (ejidos). In communal lands, contracts are signed with the ejido board which decides how to distribute the money internally. A participation bias in
favour of those already engaging in good practices versus those more likely to deforest (eg cattle ranchers) has been suggested, implying limitations to the programme’s
additionality. The introduction of social benefits was a requirement to make the programme politically acceptable, even if it led to trade-offs. However, evidence of such trade-offs in
the programme has been contradictory: some show that it is possible to effectively combine social and environmental objectives (Alix-Garcia et al., 2013), while others claim that it is
counterproductive (Alatorre-Troncoso, 2014; Salafsky, 2011).
Bangladesh. The programme combines environmental and social objectives, using a mix of regulation (ban) and a payment for ecosystem services (PES) as compensation. PES
rewards good ecosystem management agreements (such as improving soil conservation, or refraining from doing damaging activities like overfishing) expected to result in
ecosystem benefits, like cleaner water, reduced carbon emissions (Engel, 2016; Wunder, 2015) or in this case an improvement in provisioning services, ie bigger juvenile hilsa fish
(Islam et al., 2016).
The primary goal of this scheme is the conservation of hilsa and associated biodiversity, but as it is funded through a national Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme, which
aims to reduce food insecurity (Ahmed et al., 2009; Uraguchi, 2011), it is intended also to improve the socioeconomic condition of affected fishers living inside and around the
sanctuary areas (DoF, 2012; Haldar and Ali, 2014).
This programme provides useful lessons on the challenges of using conditional transfers in open-access resources. Fishery policies are particularly vulnerable to failure. Their open
access characteristics make compliance difficult. Trade is often informal and non-regulated, with multiple pressure points across the supply chain that can render a PES incentive
invalid. Attention to the social component of the policies is particularly important artisanal fisheries, as the main actors affected by regulation tend to be poor and vulnerable.
While economic incentive mechanisms of this kind have been hailed as the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage natural resources and alleviate poverty, their efficiency
depends on how much the incentives cost to implement. The lengthy administration chain from the national government to fishers have low reported transaction costs – but it is long
and time consuming. Other less reported costs include potential bribery, for example local union leaders withholding some of the rice for their own costs even if these are covered
by the programme. There have been concerns regarding equity and political interference in the distribution of compensation, elite capture and high levels of inclusion and exclusion
error (Haldar and Ali, 2014; Matin, 2000; Matin and Hulme, 2003; Rahman et al., 2012). Impact on the ecosystem is difficult to measure, especially because of the open access
nature of the resource, and the absence of counterfactual.
However, this programme represents a step forward linking social and environmental authorities. There is a perceived increased number of mature hilsa fish, hatchings and
juveniles with important benefits on supply chains. Additional work -including the potential rethinking of the PES format and providing the “right” type of incentives, can help improve
the programme’s impact on poverty alleviation, for example addressing the problems of financial exclusion” by providing ‘suitable’ financial products to fishers. Importantly, the
programme should also consider wider watershed management approaches and mitigate non-fishing related stresses such as upstream damming, river diversion, siltation, pollution
that affect the health of the fish stock (Mohammed, 2015).
Hilsa Fish (Tenulosa ilisha) is an important source of income and cultural identity in Bangladesh. It represents 11 per cent of the total catch in the country, and provides jobs to over
2.5 million people (Islam et al., 2016).
Once a cheap fish affordable even for the poor, hilsa catches declined gradually over 30 years to reach a low point of only 0.19 million tonnes in 1991–1992, then stagnated until
2001–2002. This prompted the government of Bangladesh to declare five hilsa sanctuaries in 2003 and seasonally ban the fishing of hilsa at important stages in its life cycle. This
ban is designed to allow mature fish to reproduce and juvenile hilsa (jatka) to grow, thus achieving better sizes (and prices). It also allows juvenile fish to mature and reproduce to
replenish the overall stock. To compensate for lost earnings during the closure, and to incentivise compliance with the new regulations, the government started providing affected
fishing communities with rice and alternative income-generating activities.
The Hilsa Conservation Programme (HCP) in Bangladesh has grabbed much political attention because the programme is regarded as part of poverty reduction strategy and
sustainable development. Another reason is the fish hilsa itself – it is very popular fish. The media have played a big part in that, with programme-related news regularly published in
the country. The programme has a strong approach to awareness rising as part of the incentives, reaching people through television, radio, boat rallies and local workshops (see
Figure 7). Recent economic studies are generating new information on the economic importance of hilsa fish in Bangladesh and its links to poverty alleviation (Porras et al., 2017a,
Porras et al., 2017b). The studies show that hilsa fish is a high-value activity with a guaranteed market for its supply, with prices significantly higher than other types of fish.
The process of finalising the list of food incentive recipients, allocating and distributing the food (rice) is lengthy and complex. It requires 13 separate steps and involves every tier of
Bangladesh’s administrative hierarchy, from meetings at the union parishad (local council) to approval from the Director General of the Department of Fisheries, with several layers
in between and back again to how rice is distributed to the fishers. The transaction costs however are very low: taken together administration and transaction costs account for 918
Bangladeshi taka (equivalent to USD 11.89) for each metric tonne of rice distributed, or 3 per cent of the total cost.
Local councils present a list of jatka fishers (an ID system is being introduced) to higher levels of administration. Such a lengthy system, without a clear cut targeting leads to
problems like favouritism and elite capture. From 2013 a new system where local primary teachers prepare a list of the hilsa fishers in their community, and more recently the
introduction of an ID card.
PORRAS, I., MOHAMMED, E. Y., ALI, L., ALI, M. S. & HOSSAIN, M. B. 2017a. Leave no one behind: Power and profits in hilsa fishery in Bangladesh: a value chain analysis.
London: International Institute for Environment and Development.
PORRAS, I., MOHAMMED, E. Y., ALI, L., ALI, M. S. & HOSSAIN, M. B. 2017b. Power, profits and payments for ecosystem services in Hilsa fisheries in Bangladesh: A value chain
analysis. Marine Policy, 84, 60-68.
The hilsa fish value chain
Figure 1 presents a simplified value chain for the hilsa fish in Bangladesh. It presents four main stages: the fishing families and their input suppliers, landing centers, wholesalers
and retailers reaching final consumers (including the export sector). The figure also identifies their position in relation to primary, secondary and retail markets, as well as some of
the main inputs needed for their value proposition. It is important to highlight that the focus of this study is on the fishing families. Appendixes 1, 2, and 3 present the detailed
business canvas for fishermen, wholesalers (aratdars) and exporters as high-end retailers.
Figure 1. A stylised value chain
(Note: Terminology: Dadondar/mohajon: money lender; aratdar: wholesaler; bepari (facilitator/intermediary between fishermen and aratdar); paikar: exporter. Source: prepared
following consultations and fieldwork.
Brazil. Type of transfers: The structure of BFP began with three components considered basic for quality of income (Figure 2): community infrastructure; cash rewards; and
community empowerment. After 2008, following a series of workshops and consultations, the programme was reorganised, with additional components aimed at promoting
sustainable income, supporting grassroots organisations and social investments (education, transportation, health and communication). These additional components are funded by
the project, not as (government) public services. The relative weight of the incentive package was rearranged, with more emphasis on cash reward, in response to the community
feedback. The consultation process also determined the stronger focus on women as main recipients of the cash, and proposed equal level of investments across different
Adapting incentives in response to changing context: Most participants associated the benefits of BFP to the cash component. However, this perception decreased from 2011
(64 per cent) to 2015 (41.7 per cent). In contrast, perceptions about the benefits of other components increased from 2011 (32.5 per cent) to 2015 (47.8 per cent). This perception
corroborates with the hypothesis set in the beginning of the programme, that cash benefits were important in the first years, while the benefits of income generation and social
investments were not clearly perceived. As time passes and investment matures and yield results, the cash component has become relatively less important.
Cash payments are perceived very positively by beneficiaries and provide equitable distribution of benefits among families. Non-cash benefits present a challenge to secure
equitable benefit-sharing among families, across and within different areas. The use of equity indicators to monitor implementation equity needs to receive greater attention in the
implementation of the BFP. Drivers of inequity in non-cash benefits need to be analysed and solutions need to be developed to promote greater equity. This includes a better
understanding of the political divides, governance challenges and different interest groups across and within different areas.
BFP is one of the oldest and largest programmes aimed at promoting environmental conservation and poverty alleviation in the world (Börner et al., 2013; Viana, 2008). It began
with a few communities in two protected areas and now involves an area of 10.9 million hectares, 583 communities and 16 protected areas. Created in 2007, and initially
administered by the State Secretary of Environment, with the support of Idesam, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) from the Amazon, BFP has been implemented by the
Sustainable Amazonas Foundation (FAS) since 2008. FAS, an NGO, was created through a partnership of Bradesco Bank and the Amazonas State government. The strategy
behind having the programme implemented by FAS was to increase efficiency, efficacy and equity in delivering benefits to communities, as well as to create resilience in the light of
possible changes in government partisan politics.
The design of the BFP follows a business approach, based around the business canvas model – see Figure . Some of the main components are presented in the next section, but
for more information see FAS (2017).
Laws and regulations. This programme is part of the state public policy, instituted by the Government of Amazonas in 2007. The main laws underpinning the programme are Law
3135 on Climate Change, Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas, and Supplementary Law 53 concerning the State System for Protected Areas
(SEUC). The laws determine environmental legislation at the State level, and paved the way for forest-based environmental services linked to social justice and equality.
Targeting and prioritisation. The prioritisation of areas in the Bolsa Floresta Program have the following reference attributes:
identification of relevant areas, focusing on Sustainable Use Protected Area (PA) as well as the presence of potential providers, i.e. forest guardians and riverine communities, for
environmental services in the area;
Identification of critical areas by looking at risk of reduction in provision, taking into account existing provision of ecosystem services, level of coverage by command and control
structures, external pressure on the PAs with impacts on ecosystem conservation and occurrence of unsustainable activities in the territory.
Identification of potential areas by understanding needs of potential providers, including social vulnerability and access to public services; level of social organisation, willingness to
Priority areas for PES schemes also taking into account cost versus conservation impact (resident populations versus area of the PAs).
These attributes are rated numerically (e.g. 3=high, 2=medium, 1=low; Yes=1, No=0) and added to identify the areas with higher potential. FAS (2017) provides in-depth details on
implementing these targeting strategies.
Type of transfers: The structure of BFP begun with three components considered basic for quality of income (Figure 12): community infrastructure, cash reward, and community
empowerment. After 2008, following a series of workshops and consultations, the program was re-organised, with additional components aimed at promoting sustainable income,
supporting grassroots organisations and social investments (education, transportation, health, and communication). These additional components are funded by the project, not as
(government) public services. The relative weight of the of the incentive package was re-arranged, with more emphasis on cash reward, in response to the community feedback.
The consultation process also determined the stronger focus on women as main recipients of the cash and proposed equal level of investments across different communities.
Figure 12. Payment modalities in Bolsa Floresta.
FAS management strategies. Several factors appear also help improve programme effectiveness:
The development and use of cost indicators (e.g. % overall implementation costs; number of days before purchasing air tickets controlled per individual staff) presented and
discussed at length on quarterly FAS staff and board meetings lead to creation of an institutional culture of cost reduction.
The use of indicators of key outcomes (e.g. gender - % of women participation, % projects fully implemented), presented and discussed at monthly (up to 2013) or quarterly (2014
onwards) internal management meetings at FAS helped identify problems and develop solutions for improved efficacy. Partnerships with other organisations (e.g. state and
municipal governments, NGOs, grassroots organisations) helped reducing costs of field journeys, demand of staff and improved outcomes. When possible, bulk purchase
equipment and goods by FAS administration, which increases the bargaining power with suppliers and helps reduce costs. ICT systems for inclusion. The Family (cash)
component is paid through a Bradesco Bank debit card, directly to the account of individual families. This benefit is paid every month and accumulates in the beneficiary’s account
until collected when the family goes to town or to a remote Bradesco express ATM machine. All families visit the city at least two or three times per year, when they visit relatives, for
education, medical purposes etc. The link to bank account reduces paperwork and the chances of mismanagement of resources, while promoting financial inclusion by encouraging
the creation of bank accounts for the families in these remote locations. Programme’s theory of change, based on four points: 1) Intermediate results that should be achieved by
the providers in terms of changes in practices, 2) direct results anticipated from rewards foreseen in the scheme; 3) complementary actions to be realized by the leader of the
scheme or partners; and 4) complementary actions outside the governability of the scheme. FAS (2017) provides clear details on the specific components of this theory of change.
Clear gender equity agenda, that includes objectives, resources, indicators and monitoring. The programme has defined clear strategies for action, which include: 1) control of
cash resources by women; 2) incentive for participation of women in participative planning workshops, leadership meetings and other processes of participatory management; 3)
incentivize leadership of women in projects that generate income and enterprise; 4) educational actions on the rights of women; and 5) support for the creation and strengthening of
clubs and associations of women; Ensuring transparency and feedback. Transparency is a key element of the implementation strategy of FAS. The governance of the BFP
includes a leadership meeting, which includes 40 to 70 presidents and other leaders of grass root organizations that represent the over 40 thousand beneficiaries of different areas.
These are umbrella organizations (“associaçao mãe”), which are formally established and represent small community level associations, mostly informal. These meetings take place
twice a year, usually in Manaus (in 2012 took place in Rio de Janeiro, at Rio+20 meeting) and last five days. These leadership meetings provide a unique space for open evaluation
and discussion of the BFP, with a focus on challenges and solutions. These meetings also provide a unique space for the leaders to engage in direct debate with high ranking
governmental officials, thus empowering them to claim their rights. Finally, the leadership meetings provide an opportunity for sharing lessons and for developing new leaders. Since
2016, the leadership meetings are also receiving 10 to 20% of youth participants. Once a year the results of the BFP are discussed in seminars held at local universities (UFAM,
UEA) or at FAS. These public seminars provide a space for multi-stakeholder interaction, especially with academia and NGOs, focusing on sharing knowledge and reduce partisan
criticism of the BFP. Complete financial statements of FAS and the BFP are published in full in the web and registered in a public notary. This disclosure is preceded by an annual
independent audit by PwC, which is reviewed and approved by the Fiscal Board and the Board of Administration of FAS. A detailed activities report (+100 pages) is published yearly
and also posted in the web for open access.
Participants’ perceptions: Cash is the preferred form of incentive. According to household surveys in RDS Juma, Uatumã and Rio Negro, most families (78 per cent) preferred an
increase in the family (cash) component. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a significant increase (from 5 per cent to 15 per cent) of respondents who would have preferred to
increase the income-generation component, and non-significant increases in options for the social and association components (Agustsson et al., 2014).
The social component of BFP included investment in the construction and reconstruction of 67 schools, installation of 160 radio communication stations, 91 river ambulances, water
supply, energy generation, boats and internet access, among others. The importance of these investments in social infrastructure, according to a 2015, poll indicated that the most
relevant investments were drinking water supplies, schools, boats, energy and communication (see Figure 3).
Impacts on the environment: Perceptions of participants of the BFP indicate that there has been a change in their behaviour. Most (90 per cent) beneficiaries perceive that the
BFP has contributed to environmental conservation, 80 per cent associate these results to reduction of deforestation and 76 per cent with reduction of forest fires. In 2015, most
(79.8 per cent) participants considered that the programme had helped reduce deforestation.
Measuring the impact of the BFP on deforestation rates is complex. First, there are no appropriate control areas. Attempts to use federal protected areas as controls (Tersitsch,
2017) have a limitation, given that there are different governance and institutions in charge. Second, it is not appropriate to compare BFP and non-BFP protected areas, given the
fact that some areas face very different deforestation pressures. Nevertheless, the data suggests that deforestation in the BFP areas has reduced over the years. Relative to an
average five years before the beginning of the programme (2003–2007), deforestation was reduced by 28 per cent in the first five-year period (2008–2012) and another 37 per cent
in the following period (2013–2015), totalling 54 per cent compared to the baseline (Figure 4).
Forest fires have also reduced in BFP areas. There were 775 fires in 2016, down from 1,473 in 2015 in all BFP areas. In terms of improvements in livelihoods, most participants
considered that their lives had improved since the beginning of the programme. This assessment improved from 2011 (54 per cent) to 2015 (78 per cent). Negative changes
decreased from 9.6 per cent to 3.2 per cent in the same period.
There were several other positive impacts of the BFP and the associated FAS programmes. In the RDS Rio Negro, for example, the incidence of diarrhoea in children from 0 to 6
years of age reduced from 41.5 per cent to 13.6 per cent in 2013 and 2016 respectively – a 67 per cent reduction.
The BFP needs to focus on several challenges, including ensuring the equity of non-cash components and the detailed monitoring of the social, environmental and economic
impacts of the programme. In addition, the programme needs to secure long-term funding, beyond current sources. New opportunities may emerge within the framework of the Paris
Agreement and the Amazonas legislation on ecosystem services. The programme has a strong gender component, with clear monitoring of indicators to measure progress that
show how control of cash, active support to engage in economic activities, and empowerment through dialogue all contribute to the reduction of inequality associated with gender.
An important lesson of the BFP is that using a simple message as a reference for the scheme (`standing forest’) acts as a common denominator and improves the coherence of the
programme. This helps to amalgamate resources from the scheme investors into a single budget with a common objective. This in turn helps to avoid duplication of efforts, double
counting, and reduces the risk of negative spillovers. The programme was peer-reviewed in 2012-13, but requires continuous independent evaluations which can be expensive, and
for which collaborations with academic and research institutions are key.
Based on the FAS experience implementing the BFP, there are five essential elements to build an environment of trust for PES schemes:
Effective spaces for dialogue
Valuing positive leadership
Shared agenda with short-term impacts (to show effectiveness), and
Presence, proximity, availability and connections.
The lessons learned from the BFP could be used more widely to help the design and improvement of similar programmes in other areas. These lessons learned are also useful to
implement other programmes for community-based sustainable development goals (SDGs), including adaptation to climate change in Amazonia and other similar regions. FAS
recently launched a toolkit (FAS, 2017) on implementing PES in the Amazon: www.sdsn-amazonia.org/en-toolkit
BOLIVIA: The principles of a Watershared agreement
(following the RED/AMBER/GREEN format:
Red: Conflict resolution by negotiation, not prohibitions or regulation;
Amber: Financially sustainable system with long-term downstream contributions, supported by NGO/donor contributions;
Green: Positive rewards that act as social recognitions of the mutual benefits of upstream protection. The activities and target areas follow simple, clear guidelines to understand
The Water Fund works like this: The development NGO, the Municipal Government and the Water Cooperative each invest in--and play a decision-making role in--the Water Fund.
The three-institution board decides annually how money will be spent: in annual payments, in-kind support, land purchases, or whatever else. These compensation payments are
paid to upstream landowners, who in turn sign contracts to guarantee land use, and (supposedly) provision of the water service.Photographs: http://www.naturabolivia.org/
Land tenure arrangements are highly informal in much of the Andes. Few landowners have government-approved titles, but rather rely on signed purchase contracts, some of
which are generations old, as proof of possession. In general, PES schemes, especially government schemes such as those in Costa Rica and Ecuador, do not accept these
informal `titles’. Many landowners (often the poorest) therefore cannot enter the schemes (Botazzi et al., forthcoming, 2018).
In contrast, reciprocal watershed agreements do not require formal land titles but instead rely on locally accepted definitions of who owns and controls, or grants access to,
watershed forests. In Bolivia, tenure is confirmed, and agreements are signed based on simple assurances from neighbours and the village chief that a piece of land belongs to an
individual. Watershared ownership decisions are thus based on local consensus, and although such tenure does not necessarily have de jure recognition, the de facto definition of
boundaries used by participants in the Watershared scheme is often stronger.
Selection of upstream areas use the following checklist (Asquith and Vargas, 2007):
Watershed is in or close to an important conservation area (such as a protected area, or an important bird area, etc). This criterion ensures that selected sites are globally important
A hydrological service is being provided. This is often complex to prove, as most hydrological relationships are site-specific. It is therefore difficult, a priori, to state that protecting
forest in any given area will actually provide the desired hydrological service, unless complete hydrological studies have been completed (Le Tellier et al., 2009). However, there
are two important exceptions: cloud forests, where it is almost always true that deforestation will reduce dry season flows, and forests, where cattle range freely and where keeping
cattle out will improve water quality. Municipal governments can be sure that, in these cases, upstream conservation interventions will help protect watershed services, without a
need for detailed and costly hydrological assessments.
Watersheds should be small and simple. Hydrology is complex, and the larger and more complex the hydrological system, the more difficult it is to successfully identify the level of
service provided, and to identify and negotiate with the real suppliers and beneficiaries. The smaller the watershed, the more likely that upstream actions can be directly linked to
hydrological benefits downstream, and land managers and water users can be more clearly identified. Furthermore, the smaller the watershed, the more likely that actions
upstream actually do affect downstream users.
The cost effectiveness of Watershared increases if there are only a few, motivated stakeholders involved. Two criteria can thus maximise the economic efficiency of Watershared:
Some but few downstream water users: Schemes where there are a few major downstream stakeholders, such as a drink bottling company or a hydroelectric plant, are more likely
to succeed than if project managers must negotiate with hundreds of independent farmers. On the contrary, if there are no water users, there will likely be no long-term interest in
Local perception of forest water links: Success is more likely where local stakeholders already perceive and understand the connection between forest management and the
maintenance of healthy freshwater ecosystems, so costly public education programmes are not needed.
Clear, demand-led rewards: Downstream water users provide upstream landowners with alternative development tools, such as beehives, fruit tree seedlings and irrigation
tubes. The content of the compensation packages is defined by beneficiaries based on their needs, but usually comprise alternative livelihood options that can diversify income
sources, have a multiplier effect, and reduce farmers’ susceptibility to climate change. Given local capital and transport constraints, there is also a huge added value of
compensation packages being `delivered to the farm gate’ by project implementers.
Any growing tree can fix and reduce carbon emissions. But it takes a series of extra steps to make this action into a commodity that can be traded in carbon markets.
Figure 1 shows how a typical Plan Vivo carbon offset project operates. A project developer works with smallholders, communities and supporting agencies to develop a project idea
note (PIN). This is submitted to Plan Vivo where it is initially checked against the eligibility criteria set out by the Plan Vivo Standard. Amongst other key aspects, the Plan Vivo
Standard has a particular focus on whether the project secures land tenure or carbon rights for participating communities and uses native or naturalised species in its project
activities. If it fulfils the eligibility criteria, the carbon accounting methodology goes into the Project Design stage. After submission, the carbon accounting methodology is evaluated
through a peer-review process and assessed by Plan Vivo’s technical committee. Successful projects go through validation and project registration. Through the submission of
annual reports, projects can demonstrate compliance with their project design and monitoring targets, which will lead to the issuing of valid carbon certificates. The project
developer is then able to sell these certificates in voluntary carbon markets. Regular third-party evaluation takes place to ensure the validity and permanence of carbon
sequestration rates and that the proper dispersal of funds to communities in an equitable benefit sharing that is fair and transparent.