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

Just as people often begin cooking by watching others in the kitchen, we advise readers to work with, observe and ask questions of those already working with IES systems in place (if they are available). ‘Real-world experience’ can provide much needed context to the steps that are outlined here. See ‘References’ at the back of this guide for some places to start. Just as chefs do a great deal of improvising and cookbooks are more orderly and formal, on-the-ground IES systems have a great deal of variety that do not always follow a specific form. Collaborators often start with what they have, and may modify, add and remove steps as needed to get an IES system going. On-the-ground IES systems have a great deal of variety that do not always follow a specific form The summary image above (Figure 3) provides a basic look at a ‘10 step process’ to help you familiarize yourself with the steps to setting up and implementing an IES system. These steps cover everything from envisioning the basic concept at the outset, to determining what and who to include, to steps to bring people and information together, and steps to monitor progress and improve the system after it has been implemented. Each of these numbered steps will be covered in the following pages. It should be noted that the establishment of an IES system is not a one- time experiment but, as the circular diagram reflects, a process — an adaptive one, whereby for best results and system sustainability, each of the steps must be revisited and improvements implemented over time. Only through continuous improvement and adaptive management can IES systems produce the benefits they are capable of. In real life, IES systems have many diverse forms of implementation. An IES system may not have all of the ‘basic ingredients’ listed below, but will follow the basic structure. The most crucial ‘ingredients’ are highlighted in bold, whereas the other ingredients can help an IES system function efficiently. Now, let’s get cooking!

IES Basic ingredients

Crucial ingredients needed for an IES system: • there is a clear demand for at least one ecosystem service that would be valuable to one or more ‘consumers’ • the adoption of specific land-use/management practices has the potential to improve the provision of a threatened ecosystem service • there is at least one ‘producer’ willing and able to provide this management service • the IES contract pertains to a fixed scope and time period • the IES system has the capacity to create a benefit that would not exist without the incentive (payment or other) being provided by the buyer and the resulting action by the seller In addition, the following are strongly desirable attributes for an IES system: • a trusted intermediary is available to assist both parties in designing the IES system, and in negotiating, monitoring, improving and transferring payment • clear criteria and monitoring will ensure that both the producer and consumer uphold their end of the deal • there is amechanism for all affected parties to be consulted in an open and transparent dialogue • there is a method to document and examine unintended consequences, including possible ‘negative’ impacts, of the incentive itself (see Part III on cautions) • there is a mechanism to include under- represented or marginalized voices • incentives will be distributed predictably and equitably to incentivize the desired land- management practice • land tenure and usage rights are clear, and the timeline is well defined; and/or relevant communal land management or benefit distribution is transparent and deemed most effective • there is coherence between existing policies/ laws and IES requirements.


Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas

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