Project: Payment for Ecosystems Services: Best Practices and Lessons-learned in Watershed Management in the U.S. and Central Asia
Date: 7-8 October 2010
Workshop title: Payment for Ecosystems Services: Best Practices and Lessons-learned in Watershed Management in the U.S. and Central Asia.
Organizers: CAREC in partnership with USFS International Programs.
Participants: Representatives of nature protected areas, non-governmental organizations, environmental users associations, initiative groups, international organizations, academic institutions from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, national and international independent experts.
1. Goals and objectives
The workshop goal was to assist in the design of a market-based payment for ecosystem service schemes to enhance the conservation and health of local water ecosystems through collaborative work of local stakeholders and natural resource users from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The workshop objectives were:
· to share the experiences on pasture and watershed management approaches and techniques;
· to develop draft PES schemes;
· to jointly discuss the results of two technical assessments on the feasibility of PES at pilot territories of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
2. Brief description
A definition of PES states that Payments for ecosystem servicesis contractual transaction between a buyer (e.g.farmer, timber logger, tourist, village or city resident) and a seller (e.g. farmer association, forest service, local government, private company) for an ecosystem service or a land use/management practice likely to secure that service.
The program on promotion and piloting of PES mechanisms in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan has been initiated by CAREC within the framework of UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1992), as well as the Environmental Code of Kazakhstan 2007 (Ch.10, Art. 95), national program Zhasyl Damu (2010) and Kyrgyz Law on Environmental Protection (1999), which specify the development of stimulating economic mechanisms to regulate the environmental management and use.
The participants of the workshop consisted of state environmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, environmental users associations, initiative groups, independent experts, and international donors and partners.
The workshop was conducted by the international experts from USFS: Ms. Nicola Smith, environmental scientist and expert on PES; Mrs. Susan Ann Forbes, expert on grazing management; and Mr. Brad Kinder, Program Specialist of the USFS International Programs in Russia, Europe, Near Asia as well as by CAREC specialists, Ekaterina Strikeleva, Mariya Genina and Simon Charre.
3. Discussion points
· Listened to the introductory presentations on PES schemes, definitions, examples, steps and case studies in the U.S., Central Asia and worldwide.
· Listened to the presentations on steps and specifics of PES feasibility analysis, legislative analysis, possible schemes and stakeholder mobilization processes in Chon Aksu river basin, Issyk Kul oblast, Kyrgyzstan.
· Learned the details of land and water management in Almaty Nature Reserve and Ile-Alatau National Park, and considered the opportunities of applying PES scheme to improve ecosystem management. E.g. through ecotourism, or encourage contracts between vodocanals (drinking water supply downstream) and nature protected areas (clean water supply upstream) to link ecosystem service provision and use.
· Discussed and identified the key water quality and quantity issues in Central Asia
· Determined the vision for watershed health and water quality
· Listened and discussed recommendations of the USFS expert team on water and land management practices improvement in the region, based on the brief examination of the Talgar river watershed, Kazakhstan (visiting Almaty Nature Reserve, Ile Alatau National Park, Agency for Irrigation System Management).
Recommendations covered the following topics:
- Grazing and Range Management
- Fire Management and Fuels Treatment
- Road Construction and Maintenance
- Restoration of Riparian Areas
- Soil and Water Conservation on Farmland
- Invasive Species Management
· After the theoretical session the participants had a chance to work in three groups: a) Nature protected areas in Almaty oblast, Kazakhstan; b) Chon Aksu watershed, Kyrgyzstan; c) Camp Alatoo pilot watershed in Kyrgyzstan. The issues of discussion were: identifying ecosystem services, potential buyers and sellers of the service, value of ecosystem services, type of potential PES scheme, political and economic feasibility of PES.
· Role game of PES scheme development. Three groups: “buyers”, “sellers”, and intermediary organization. Sample watershed. Task: to present the position, propose solutions and develop PES contract terms.
· Identified the key challenges to introducing PES in Central Asia, such as:
- Insufficient scientific updated data on the ground
- Poor economic state of the rural areas, issues of poverty due to unemployment
- Consequently, ecosystem service “buyers” are also “sellers” themselves
- Constantly changing focal points (governmental officials)
- Fixed public perception of “free” ecosystem services (e.g. water)
· Group work: a) discussing the practicalities of PES contracts development and monitoring (sustainability), plus the discussion of grazing management practices; b) developing the PES scheme in Chon Aksu river basin.
4. Workshop outputs
· Local stakeholders (heads of water user association and grazing association, representatives of forest authority, independent experts) had developed the draft PES scheme for Chon-Aksu watershed, Issyk Kul basin, Kyrgyzstan (see Annex 3)
· Presentation of USFS experts team on management recommendations;
· Webpage with workshop results, list of participants, Agenda and ppt presentations;
· An outline of project technical report – “Guidelines on PES in Central Asia” (USFS-CAREC 2010).