ITTO and FAO launch a policy brief “Rewarding the service providers”

23 June 2014

A policy brief entitled “Rewarding the service providers” was launched on 23 June 2014 by ITTO and FAO during a side event on payments for environmental services (PES) of forests at the 22nd Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO). The publication is a result of the deliberations of the International Forum on Payments for Environmental Services of Tropical Forest, co-organized by ITTO, FAO, and the National Fund for Forest Finance of Costa Rica (FONAFIFO), in April 2014.
The aim of the policy brief is to increase awareness among policymakers and the general public about the vital role of tropical forests in providing environmental services and the increasing need for beneficiaries to compensate forest owners or managers for those services. It sets out the rationale for, and the constraints faced by, PES schemes, and key recommendations for scaling them up.
ITTO’s Executive Director Emmanuel Ze Meka, as Chair of the side event, highlighted that tropical forests provide critical environmental services. They protect vital water catchments and biodiversity, help regulate regional climates, and are giant carbon dioxide “vacuum cleaners” and manufacturers of renewable biomass. Currently, however, most people and companies benefiting from tropical forest environmental services pay little or nothing for them.
Mr. Ze Meka and other speakers at the side event and in a follow-up COFO plenary session stressed that by providing tropical forest owners and managers with income and increasing the economic competitiveness of sustainable forest management (SFM), payments for environmental services (PES) schemes can help to:
  • alleviate rural poverty,
  • reduce deforestation,
  • stimulate the rehabilitation of degraded forestlands, and
  • increase the uptake of SFM.