Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region

In the Himalayas, some ecosystem services may already be managed as a communal asset. For example in Nepal, drinking water supply is considered a basic service, and its provision to meet basic needs is mandated by the government of Nepal. Thus, the government, in the interests of maintaining community well-being and continued service provision, may provide incentives to upstream communities (instead of a private entity or downstream water recipient). However, the treatment of certain resources as common goods also presents challenges in terms of incentives and responsibility for management action. Communal/forestry management groups may be the most effective at provisioning ecosystem services. In many regions of Nepal, community management

groups have already been established, and have a long and effective history of protecting and improving a forest area. Since new payment or other incentive systems require high levels of accounting, transparency, and operational confidence, a pre- existing organization that can organize many participants in a restoration activity may often be best positioned to provide the ecosystem services. Additionally, a forestry management group may have the necessary community forum to gather and build consensus, as well as the structure necessary to guarantee accountability to the contract. In the HKH, there is a pressing need for basic services and therefore benefit sharing. Some of the most prominent needs in remote Himalayan mountain


Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas

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