Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region
The place, time and circumstances of IES brainstorming, exploration, negotiation and execution are an important and often overlooked element of IES planning. It should be as transparent, clear and inclusive as possible in order to encourage fair power dynamics and representation among all concerned parties. Step 6. Convening
An important part of convening is careful examination of who is involved in providing the service in question, and who will benefit from the payments or other incentives. Are they all at the table, and if not, how can they be brought in? Proper convening must account for rights, legislation and conflicts. It must also address logistical considerations such as tradition, expectation, and practice for setting up meetings and agreements, as well as inviting and paying proper respect to the relevant parties. Community consultation and convening needs to be well prepared in advance, providing a discussion agenda. An effective approach can be to convene first: upstream or producer groups, second: downstream or consumer groups, and third: both upstream/producer and downstream/consumer groups together. It is important to note that not all IES systems are vertical (upstream-downstream); they can also be horizontal. In horizontal IES systems, proper identification of producers and consumers may be more complicated. As noted in Part I of this publication, in some cases in the Himalayan context,
state authorities can themselves be consumers or buyers on behalf of the general public.
Proper convening means initiating IES discussions and setting the stage for a path towards agreement. This involves establishing an environment in which all stakeholders are involved and heard, and experts are present at meetings to not only provide information but also to document stakeholder perceptions and understanding. Proper convening will also ensure that dominant partners do not over-run the conversation or set the terms of agreement, but that the process is as inclusive and equitable as possible. IES projects often find that “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something”. We intend this Cookbook to help maximize familiarity and engagement across all skill sets, backgrounds and perspectives. Themore familiar the ‘champions’ are, the more they can reach out to, and gain feedback from, community members with valuable insight, and organizational and leadership abilities. The inclusivity of the approach is especially important in communities where few have formal preparatory backgrounds.
Step 6: Convening • Identify feasible and transparent means of consultation and face-to-face meetings • Establish current status, participation, perception, and power dynamics among participants • Explore together the impact of actions over time • Explore unintended consequences, and ask “Who is not at the table?”
Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas
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