Conservation finance option available to landowners

Feb 11, 2016

Multistakeholder consultation to seek views on a Samoa PES project. Photo credit UNDP/E. Adams/2016

A UNDP GEF funded project based on compensating community land owners to provide for ecosystem services whilst promoting nature conservation will help address long-term land degradation, as well as improve economic livelihoods of rural communities and land owners of these critical landscapes. 

The Project, Strengthening Multi-Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes (SMSMCL) is implemented by the Government of Samoa through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by UNDP.

The project contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 on sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems addressing land degradation and biodiversity loss, and SDG 17 on strengthening partnerships for sustainable development.

The CEO of the MNRE, Suluimalo Penaia Amataga said the Government of Samoa is keen to use the Payment for Ecosystems (PES) process to advance Samoa’s conservation, sustainable land management and poverty alleviation objectives based on the ridge-to-reef concept.

The PES approach supports SMSMCL’s main objective to strengthen local capacities, incentives and actions for integrated landscape management and help reduce land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as promote nature conservation while enhancing sustainable local livelihoods.

PES helps foster an understanding of the relationship between ecosystem services (such as forest carbon or watershed services) and ecosystem services providers (landowners). It is a voluntary, pay for performance conservation financing tool for defined conservation performance. The payments are designed to offset the opportunity cost of conservation for the ecosystem service providers.

In the last week of January 2016, the SMSMCL Project Management Unit conducted multistakeholder consultations to increase understanding of the PES approach and ultimately develop a priority PES project for Samoa.

PES Consultant, Keyvan Izadi emphasised that the PMU will continue to engage stakeholders throughout the project as the PES concept is trialled out and to ensure their valuable contributions are reflected in determining the final outcomes.

UNDP programme staff participated in the stakeholder consultations as international partners along with other stakeholders including civil society, NGOs and faith-based groups.

UNDP programme officer, Ms Anne Trevor-Stanley said the SMSMCL Project is piloting PES in Samoa for the first time and is a conservation finance option that can benefit communities while maintaining essential ecosystem services such as clean water for drinking.

A final national integrated workshop was held on 4 February 2016 where views and recommendations from the stakeholder consultations were presented and with a likely PES opportunity opting for improved watershed management of the Apia water catchment area.

 

Contact information

For further information, please contact: Mr Emil Adams, UNDP Communications Officer, emile.adams@undp.org.

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