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

sensitizing local populations on protection and action, and bringing mass behavioural changes in conserving drinking water. These awareness- raising interventions proved to be the turning point in changing the mind-set of municipality members, stimulating their resolve to protect the upstream source of the Bohal spring. A new group sponsored by GIZ, called WASH (Water Availability through Self-Help), then began to support public participation, and advocate ecosystem service payments in public utility services. Themain goals of such payments were to support Panchayati Raj institutions to plan, implement and manage safe drinking water and minor irrigation systems in a sustainable manner. Lessons learned: It is difficult to develop an IES mechanism in mountain communities, unless the downstream communities find value in protecting upstream flows of ecosystem services. Once

the connection between upstream action and downstream impact is made clear to them, upstream communities are often well placed to suggest feasible and low-cost solutions to identified problems. Youth awareness is critical, with young people representing good investment as ‘change agents’ to families and households, and providing long-term support to conservation. Awareness in local and municipal offices is also important, without which formal negotiation with upstream communities cannot proceed. Possible improvements: Institutions play a crucial role in successful IES systems. While pilot systems can be organized at the local scale with a temporary facilitating institution, the sustainability of IES schemes can be enhanced by streamlining the system within existing government entities and institutional frameworks. It is also important to ensure active participation of both upstream and downstream users, and to recognize their role.


Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas

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