Policy Briefs provide guidance on PES implementation

Policy Briefs provide guidance on PES implementation

By Esteve Corbera
on 2024-01-15
  • Ecosystem services
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Environmental governance

Mexico has been a pioneer in the implementation of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), launching incentive-based programs for the conservation of forests in critical river basins and for the conservation of biodiversity hotspots in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Colombia is relatively a newcomer in the implementation of national PES programs, but in 2021 the country launched the Amazon Forest Incentive (AFI) program to reduce deforestation in the Amazon basin. 

The PES-Emotive project has analysed the effectiveness of these PES programs in halting deforestation, in the agricultural frontiers of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, and the department of Guaviare, Colombia. It is shown that both programs are effective in curbing deforestation, yet are unable to reduce degradation (i.e. selective cutting) in some of the contracted conservation areas. The environmental additionality of the public investments varies geographically, as both programs often cover areas where deforestation risk remains rather low and where payments probably respond to distributive and poverty-alleviation concerns. 

Based on these insights, the PES-Emotive project has shared the following recommendations with the managers of Mexico's PES programs and Colombia's AFI:

- Improve targeting towards areas with the highest risk of deforestation (Mexico, Colombia)
- Update payment levels to "compete" with deforestation drivers (Mexico, Colombia)
- Encourage and facilitate participation, especially during contract renewal periods (Mexico)
- Monitor forest degradation and sanction non-compliance (Mexico, Colombia)
- Complement the PES with the development of sustainable forest management programs (Colombia)
- Scale the AFI program where effectiveness and additionality are higher (Colombia)

For more information:

Izquierdo-Tort, S., Corbera, E., Moros, L. (2024) Conservando las selvas mediante pagos. Resumen de políticas, proyecto PES-EMOTIVE, enero 2024, 6 páginas.

Moros, L., Izquierdo-Tort, S., Corbera, E. (2023) Conservando el norte del Amazonas mediante pagos. Documento de políticas, proyecto PES-EMOTIVE, diciembre 2023, 6 páginas.

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