Coverage of conference on Innovations for equity in smallholder PES: bridging research and practice

Article, 18 March 2014

On March 21, IIED hosted a conference that aimed to explore the latest thinking on how to make schemes that compensate protectors of natural resources fairer and more inclusive.

Participants at IIED's Innovations for equity in smallholder payments for ecosystem services conference at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh (Photo: Kate Wilson)

The conference on Innovations for equity in smallholder payments for ecosystem services (PES) took place at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

It offered an opportunity for researchers and practitioners involved in PES schemes and related instruments to come together to share knowledge and experience of challenges and successes – particularly in relation to smallholder participation. The agenda is available online [PDF].

We published a round-up of the event via Storify.

Conference sessions

Delegates at the conference discussed lessons from both long-standing and new schemes on how to better include small-scale farmers and local communities, who often face obstacles such as lack of formal land tenure, complex, costly application procedures and, in many cases, relatively low pay-offs.

It also focused on ensuring that PES does more to tackle poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods. The agenda included sessions on:

  • Strategies to promote the inclusion of smallholders and communities in PES schemes
  • Ensuring that the preferences and concerns of communities targeted for inclusion in PES are better understood in the design of payment mechanisms
  • Securing finance for pro-poor PES schemes

Speakers presented information on PES initiatives including:

  • A scheme that pays farmers to protect chimpanzee habitat in Uganda
  • A Mexican forest community that sells carbon credits in international voluntary markets
  • Choice experiment research in East Africa and Bangladesh which explores with communities key aspects of the design of a scheme — such as whether payments are made in cash and or in communal social benefits.

Nine of the presentations from the conference can be viewed on IIED's Slidehare site, while video highlights of three of the four sessions of the conference can be seen on IIED's YouTube site and in the playlist below. (Unfortunately, the first session is unavailable due to technical issues.)

See IIED's full range of payments for ecosystem services publications