Creating Pro-Poor Markets for Ecosystem Services
A High-Level Brainstorming Workshop 

10 – 12 October 2005, London, United Kingdom 

Organized by the Division of Environmental Conventions, UNEP in conjunction with the London School of Economics 


Highlights for Tuesday, 11 October 2005

On Tuesday, 11 October, the second segment of the High-Level Brainstorming Workshop “Creating Pro-Poor Markets for Ecosystem Services” brought together senior representatives of Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) Secretariats, UN agencies and other interested parties to identify the process and institutional mechanisms required to support the creation of pro-poor markets for ecosystem services (MES), drawing on the first segment’s conclusions and the outcomes of the 2005 World Summit. Brent Swallow, World Agroforestry Centre, chaired the second segment of the workshop, which featured: a panel discussion on experiences from the field in creating MES, a discussion on engaging MEAs, and a brainstorming session on the workshop output.

Above photo: View of the brainstorming session inside one of the stately rooms at the Senate House. 

Identifying a mid-term strategy for creating prototype markets for ecosystem services:

Bakary Kante, Director of UNEP Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC), emphasized that the key role of MEAs in the creation of ecosystem services needs to be further explored and clarified, in cooperation with MEAs themselves.

Chair Brent Swallow highlighted the linkage between economic instruments, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and MEAs. He questioned how governments can support the development of financial and technical instruments, support demand, shape the conditions for suppliers and link all this with welfare effects. He considered possible impacts on people in the areas concerned, effects on poverty, and possible regulation when directly and indirectly affected people do not participate in MES.

Discussion on experiences from the field:

Amanda Hawn, (right) The Ecosystem Marketplace, presented two projects creating MES in the US and in Tanzania, related to land use change. She highlighted that institutional investors are interested in a diversified portfolio and long-term returns, and showed that the projects looked at different income streams and stocked them. She said that bundling values in a multi-credit market increases opportunities and value of sales, and suggested using sequencing in assessing whether MES are real and active.

Jeff Sayer, (right) World Wildlife Fund (WWF), reported on two projects transferring financial resources to local communities for forest services in Indonesia, where the establishment of funds for social infrastructure development avoided difficulties in allocating compensation to individuals. He noted the difficulty in ensuing long-term benefits to ecosystems, and the importance of law and contract enforcement for the success of the projects.

Bert Lenten,(above left) Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA), questioned the stability of payments for ecosystem services, and Sayer said that the WWF projects opened the route in the hope of a long-term government involvement in MES. Madhav Mehra, (above right)  President of the World Council for Corporate Governance, reported on a project in India, in which payments for forest ecosystem services were used for creating income-generating opportunities for the women of the interested community.

Ahmed Khan, (right) South Africa, presented a project on invasive alien plants management, underscoring the importance of partnerships and prevention.  He highlighted that a core environmental problem may unlock multiple developmental opportunities, link ecological integrity and social justice, and provide tools for beneficiaries to maximize their returns. Anantha Duraiappah, (left) International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), enquired about market incentives, and Khan pointed the creation of employment opportunities in the invasive alien plant management crew and road clearing team.

Mahomed Vawda, South Africa, outlined a water support programme enhancing food security for the poor, making water available free of charge, providing financial support to resource-poor farmers, and promoting economic development of rural areas. He highlighted both private and public financing for water infrastructure, noting that the introduction of new irrigation systems enhanced the viability of agricultural enterprises.

Chair Brent Swallow (above left) presented a project to reward upland poor for environmental services in Asia, in which public and private agencies empowered and provided incentives to farmers for maintaining water, biodiversity and carbon sequestration services. He noted that rewards consisted in: enhanced land tenure security, development rights, revenues from carbon credits, infrastructure development and payments from trust funds. Charles Arden-Clarke, (above center) UNEP, enquired about scoping projects, and chair Swallow noted that this was needed to gather a minimal base of evidence supporting the start of the project. Kaveh Zahedi, (above right) UNEP/World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), enquired about the beneficiaries and suppliers of biodiversity services.

Ivan Bond, (right) International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), highlighting the need to: put in place participatory processes, benefit the poor, reduce transaction costs in understanding underlying ecological conditions, and be clear on which environmental services should be generated by concerned communities. He suggested understanding the reasons of poverty in a specific area to create MES, building partnerships with stakeholders and offering a negotiation support system. Alain Lambert, (left) UNEP, commented that MES should aim principally at achieving environmental protection without aggravating poverty, rather than aiming directly at poverty reduction. He called for a combination of economic and command-and-control tools, and cautioned against underestimating the cultural and political dimension of MES.

MEAs and the creation of pro-poor markets for ecosystem services:

Marceil Yeater, (left) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), highlighted CITES' experience in trade-related instruments for environmental protection, as well as issues of law enforcement and corruption at the national level. She mentioned that CITES' strategic vision includes a goal on responsible trade, based on sustainable use and the need for social and economic incentives, and stressed the link between CITES and achieving MDGs.

Simon Rietbergen, (above right) IUCN, enquired about biodiversity services, and Yeater pointed to the areas of recovering endangered species and protecting their habitats. Zahedi enquired about barriers to sustainable trade, with Yeater referring to an information barrier, due to the need to clarify the rules of the Convention to governments and the private sector. José Garibaldi, (above left) Energeia, enquired about identification of species under the Convention and their economic value.

Robert Hepworth, (above right) Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), underscored the need to obtain MEAs State parties’ support, proposing to discuss MES at the upcoming Conferences of the Parties (COPs) with a view to have COP recommendations on the MES initiative. He encouraged exploring the potential of involving private corporate players, and cautioned against using the “ecosystem services” terminology within MEAs, given the resistance of some Parties under the Convention to Combat Desertification. Bert Lenten, (above left) Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA), emphasized the need for communication of available knowledge on ecosystem services to MEAs State parties, suggesting that UNEP/DEC present on this and on the MES initiative at upcoming COPs. He also noted that ecosystem services are relevant, in different ways, not only to poor but also to rich countries, especially in the case of migratory species, and was supported by Rüdiger Strempel, (above center) Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS). 

Chair’s summary:

Chair Swallow said that the experiences from the field provided a sample of available evidence on innovative financing mechanisms linked to ecosystem services, which can feed into other learning experiences on MES and MEAs. He highlighted that: the case studies improved scientific understanding of MES; MEAs define opportunities and constraints for MES at the national and local level; and the relationship between the needs of the poor, poverty processes and environmental protection defines imperatives for, and feasibility of, payments for ecosystem services. He remarked that the discussion on engaging MEAs in the creation of MES pointed to the: limited room of maneuver within MEAs Secretariats, need for decisions by their State parties, and importance of terminology in the context of legally binding instruments. He finally identified possible future steps for UNEP/DEC, such as: raising awareness about MES at the upcoming MEA COPs; establishing an advisory mechanism for creating MES in the context of MEAs; and developing MES pilot projects. 

Left photo L-R: Chair Swallow in consultation with Bradnee Chambers, United Nations University (UNU)


This service was prepared in cooperation with the UNEP-LSE Secretariat


UNEP Division of Environmental Conventions
Meeting Portal and Documents
Background Document: 2005 World Summit Outcome
London School of Economics
ENB Coverage of the World Summit on Sustainable Development


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