PES for trainers and practitioners: transforming knowledge for policy impact
From its conception in 2007 the ESPA programme examined the science underpinning the relationships between ecosystems, their benefits to people, and their potential to reduce poverty. Key to transforming science into better practice are the institutions that govern how ecosystems are managed - the instruments and policy arrangements - and the enabling conditions that lead to changing behaviours into more sustainable and equitable ways. One of these instruments is Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), a conditional incentive that promotes strategies to capture revenues from those benefiting from ecosystem services, and re-locates them towards those who manage these ecosystems. Despite our increased understanding in the past 15 years, both in theory and practice, Payments for Ecosystem Services still fails to achieve scales to make a difference. There are however several successful programmes that have managed to emerge and remain and can provide additional pragmatic lessons on moving things forward.
This project looked at those programmes to understand the conditions that enable them to emerge and reach significant scale, and what ESPA and selected non-ESPA resources and evidence support this process. Importantly, the project aimed to transform this knowledge for specific practical audiences, such as technical government staff and university lecturers that prepare the next generation of local experts. We focused on specific topics, identified by practitioners through consultation- that were identified as likely to increase impact. Specifically, practical experiences and lessons for sustainable financing, on pragmatic implementation, evidence to make the business case for investing in ecosystems and poverty alleviation, and linking the private sector and other key stakeholders.