Payments for Environmental Services: A survey and assessment of current schemes


Unisfera International Centre, K. Mayrand and M. Paquin

Type of Document:
Research Report


Not Available

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Not Available


This report surveys PES schemes in the Western Hemisphere and analyzes the main differences and similarities between PES models as well as their strengths and limitations. In addition, the report identifies conditions for the success of PES schemes and highlights experiences that could emerge as best practices allowing PES to maximize their positive impacts both in terms of environmental and socioeconomic outcomes.

One finding of this report is that PES schemes may not constitute a cost-optimal instrument in all circumstances. Indeed, their success depends in great part from pre-existing conditions. PES systems work best when services are visible and beneficiaries are well organized, and when land user communities are well structured, have clear and secure property rights, strong legal frameworks, and are relatively wealthy or have access to resources.

(Excerpt from Executive Summary)

Table of Contents: Introduction I. Defining the PES concept – An Overview of Environmental Services – Payments for Environmental Services: Definition and Rationale – The Structure of PES Mechanisms – Markets for Environmental Services II. Assessing the Effectiveness and efficiency of PES schemes – Identifying beneficiaries and generating demand – Generating revenues for service providers – Establishing scientific knowledge and valuing ecosystems services – Understanding the legal and policy environment – Establishing an institutional structure – Financing the PES system – Managing transaction costs III. Conditions for success and emerging best practices – The strengths and limitations of PES schemes – Diversifying revenues for sustainable livelihoods – Generating benefits to poor communities – Building Capacities in communities Conclusion Appendix I: List of PES schemes surveyed

Additional Bibliographic Information

Report prepared for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America

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