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How Payments for Environmental Services Can Deliver Co-Benefits for Business & Sustainable Development
Photo by Hawk KhatcherianHow Payments for EnvironmentalServices Can Deliver Co-Benefits forBusiness & Sustainable Development A Conservation Finance Strategy to Protect Armenia’s Natural HeritagePresented by Jason A. Sohigian at Columbia’s Earth Institute, May 9, 201117th International Sustainable Development Research Conference
Presentation Overview Principles of sustainable development What are environmental services? Status of natural, financial & social capital Examples of payments for environmental services Next steps for implementation
Principles of Sustainable Development Strategic investment in all three dimensions: Natural Capital Financial Capital Social Capital
Armenia & the South Caucasus RegionMap source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasus
Payments for Environmental Services: Costa RicaCosta Rica’s forest law recognized these environmental services provided by forests: mitigation for GHG emissions hydrological services including the provision of water for consumption, irrigation, energy production biodiversity conservation provision of scenic beauty for recreation & ecotourism
Payments for Environmental Services: CatskillsWidely recognized benefits of the conservation program implemented in the Catskills Watershed: a filtration plant large enough to clean New York City’s water supply would have cost $6 billion to build & $250 million annually to maintain preserving the watershed (75 percent forested) had a cost of only $1.5 billion
Payments for Environmental Services: DanubeObjectives of WWF’s Danube Basin program in Bulgaria & Romania: promote sustainable financing demonstrate how national & local-level payment schemes work contribute to rural development & conservation share experiences with other countries
Next Steps for Implementation: Plan of Action Use Corporate Ecosystem Services Review to identify business risks & opportunities from a company’s dependence & impact on ecosystems Identify international donors that have invested in PES to finance a pilot project to demonstrate viability of PES program Initiate pilot scientific & economic study of a specific ecosystem that provides services or inputs to businesses in a key sector Use Ecosystem Marketplace guidebook to assess viability of a PES program, initiate stakeholder engagement & develop a project Initiate education program for business & other stakeholders to advance understanding of environmental services & their importance for sustainable development
Next Steps for Implementation: Further Study Initiate general study to estimate the value of the range of environmental services provided by ecosystems in Armenia Survey businesses in strategic sectors outlined to determine “willingness to pay” for environmental services that are a core part of their business Initiate research into legal, political, economic & social spheres that may pose potential barriers to the implementation of a PES scheme Initiate further research in the general field of environmental economics & natural resource accounting in Armenia to identify new sustainable development opportunities