Payments for Ecosystem Services: A fair deal?
Center for Development Research of the University of Bonn (ZEF), United Nations Convention on Combat Desertification (UNCCD), German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Eco-Hydrology and Water Resources Management Department of Geography (University of Bonn)
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are cash or in-kind payments directed to peasants that conserve forests important to secure water quality and quantity. Since poverty overlaps greatly with ecosystem service hotspots in the global south, PES has been often presented as a poverty alleviation mechanism. However, are peasants really better-off because they receive conservation payments? Do they even participate on PES voluntarily? Are payments always fair? Does PES translate automatically in conservation practices?
Jean-Carlo Rodriguez presented the results of his empirical research on PES schemes in Colombia and Ecuador and showed that PES schemes are not neutral initiatives imposed upon blank canvases, but intersect with existing development trajectories and power relations. He warned against a merely economic approach to conservation which keeps blind eyes on the social and political dimensions. The presentation was followed by a debate with the public moderated by Annabelle Houdret.
About the Water Lecture
The Water Lecture series is a joint series organized by the Center for Development Research of the University of Bonn (ZEF), the United Nations Convention on Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the Eco-Hydrology and Water Resources Management Department of Geography, University of Bonn (University of Bonn).
About the speaker
Jean-Carlo Rodriguez holds a PhD in Political Ecology and an MSc in Environmental Economics from Wageningen University. Jean Carlo is currently a researcher with the Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management department at DIE. He is also an associated researcher with the Water Resources Management Group at Wageningen University. As an environmental scientist with a social perspective, his research interests include, among others, the analysis of socio-economic and political aspects of conservation (Payment for environmental services and REDD+), natural resource management policies and their impact on communities and the environment.