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Research Report

Regional Synthesis of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) in the Greater Mekong Region

Luca Tacconi
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 28
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep02379
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    CIFOR has been conducting a regional review of payments for environmental services (PES) in the Greater Mekong region with support from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID). The purpose of this report is to synthesize the country studies on Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam (Milne and Chervier 2014; Nabangchang 2014; Pham et al. 2014; Robichaud 2014) to compare the various PES schemes to assess their current status, implementation processes and lessons learned, and draw policy recommendations relevant to REDD+. The review process culminated in a Regional Workshop on Payments for Environmental Services (24–25 November 2014, Hanoi), that...

  2. (pp. 2-4)

    The earlier and most cited definition of PES, which is also the focus of a significant part of the analysis of the Laos country study, defines it as: “a voluntary transaction where a well-defined ES [environmental service] (or a land-use likely to secure that service) is being ‘bought’ by a (minimum one) ES buyer from a (minimum one) ES provider, if and only if the ES provider secures ES provision (conditionality)” (Wunder 2005, 3).

    The above definition was criticized by Muradian et al. (2010), who redefine PES as a “transfer of resources between social actors, which aims to create incentives...

  3. (pp. 5-11)

    The four countries considered by the case studies appear to have rather different conditions relating to the establishment of PES schemes, and are at different stages in that development. The classification of the key features and steps outlined in Table 1 is used to summarize the status of development of PES (or a specific project) in each country, as derived by the present author from the country reports, and to present a comparative analysis in Section 4.

    As noted earlier, there has been considerable debate in the literature, and especially in one of the country case studies, about the characteristics...

  4. (pp. 12-14)

    Vietnam is the only country out of the four considered that has a national PES program (Table 6). The implementation of a national level scheme involves several government agencies at different levels and it requires a purposefully developed regulatory system. For countries that implement PES on a project-by-project basis at the local level, a regulatory system that allows those projects (in the sense that is does not constrain them) is sufficient for the purpose. Therefore, the development of PES-specific regulatory systems in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand may not be a priority, unless they seek to scale up the experience of...

  5. (pp. 15-16)

    A key factor at the core of some of the limitations in the design features and implementation processes of PES schemes in the region, as highlighted above, is a lack of understanding and acknowledgement of the contribution of ecosystem services to social and economic activities, as noted in the case of Thailand (Nabangchang 2014) and also evident in Cambodia and Laos (Milne and Chervier 2014; Robichaud 2014). On the other hand, the case of Vietnam demonstrates that when the political class understands those benefits it leads to the implementation of schemes that could have wide-ranging effects. Continued information dissemination and...

  6. (pp. 17-17)

    The country review papers identified a number of issues concerning the design and implementation of PES in the Mekong region that have been summarized, assessed and compared in this paper. It is important to note that in some countries there has been significant progress made in the implementation of PES, and the experiences of those countries can inform further developments in countries in the region that have an interest in initiating or expanding schemes. The issues that have been identified include positive and negative aspects of the existing schemes. They are relevant to a range of conservation activities, whether they...