Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region
Each country and region of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) faces pressing environmental and developmental challenges, with rural, mountainous areas most deeply affected. Deforestation, changes in land use, and unsustainable soil and water management practices present physical challenges, while outmigration and challenges to health, education, poor infrastructure and market access complicate poverty challenges. Large-scale solutions for sustainable development and climate action are important, but are often limited to the global and national levels. Urgent focus is needed on small, tangible solutions that may help local development as well as bring sustainable, locally relevant management solutions.
Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by improving ecosystem functioning, maintaining ecosystem service flows, and supporting biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration. When applied well, they can improve connections and incentive systems between the ecosystems that create benefits (and the people who manage/affect them) and the recipients of those benefits. Improvements over time to IES systems can lead to meaningful contributions to community and rural development (including local institutions) and cooperation, income diversification and resilience. They can also prove an important source of financing for sustainable development and adaptation to/mitigation of climate change. IES in one form or another have been applied around the world, often under the definition of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). However, IES applications are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. IES systems must be locally defined in such a way that they are relevant to the cultures, policies, ecosystems and specific factors affecting demand and supply of ecosystem services in that place. In this Cookbook, we apply the term “Incentives for Ecosystem Services” instead of the more commonly applied “Payments for Ecosystem Services” because experience suggests that many forms of incentives, not only market-based payments, have been applied in the region. This Cookbook highlights several factors from the Himalayan context
(ecological, cultural, policy, social, and economic) that have bearings on the application of IES to produce the desired and best results. This report includes numerous case studies, many from Nepal but also from Pakistan, India and China, dealing with numerous ecosystem services and a variety of buyer/seller configurations. Together, they present a diverse snapshot of the innovative, exploratory application of IES in the Himalayan region. This handbook intends to help newcomers to rapidly gain familiarity with the concept in the Himalayan region, and to support dialogue, inclusivity, and rapid uptake of IES information in the future.
Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas
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