Workshop builds local capacity

The Project for Strengthening Multi-Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes (S.M.S.M.C.L) in Samoa held a National Stakeholder Workshop on Payment for Environmental Services (P.E.S) this week.  

The focus of this national inception workshop is to build the multi-stakeholder capacity on P.E.S and ultimately develop a priority P.E.S project for Samoa.

The national workshop is a follow on from an initial set of stakeholder meetings conducted by the S.M.S.M.C.L Project Management Unit (P.M.U) last week with more than fifty entities from public, private, civil society and faith-based sectors. 

P.E.S is a voluntary, market-based “pay-for-performance” approach to sustainable financing of ecosystem service (E.S) conservation and poverty alleviation whereby E.S conservers/providers receive payments from E.S users/buyers that are conditional on specific conservation performance.  The payments are designed to offset the opportunity cost of conservation for the ES providers.  

The P.E.S approach supports the S.M.S.M.C.L Project’s primary objective to strengthen local capacities, incentives and actions for integrated landscape management in order to reduce land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions as well as promote nature conservation while enhancing sustainable local livelihoods.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Chief Executive Officer, Suluimalo Penaia Amataga highlighted in his keynote address that “the Government of Samoa is keen to utilise the P.E.S process to advance Samoa’s conservation, Sustainable Land Management (S.L.M) and poverty alleviation objectives from the top of our ridges down to the depths of our reefs.”

P.E.S helps in generating an understanding of the relationship between ecosystem services and human well-being.  This approach provides an opportunity for locals to play a role in supporting environment and ecosystem conservation, while also alleviating poverty in their rural communities.

The stakeholder engagement process strengthens local institutions and develops trust between ES providers and buyers as equal partners to shared local solutions.  

Current P.E.S projects in other countries typically focus on water, carbon, biodiversity and land - and sea-scape beauty/tourism.

S.M.S.M.C.L P.E.S Consultant, Keyvan Izadi led the workshop dialogue and encouraged the participants that these discussions were only the beginning of the P.E.S process.  

Izadi emphasized that the S.M.S.M.C.L Project Management Unit (P.M.U) including himself “will continue these engagements en route to securing the multi-stakeholders’ recommendations on P.E.S priorities for Samoa”.

Recommendations from last week’s ‘one-on-one’ sector specific discussions as well as this week’s national integrated workshop, lean towards a possible P.E.S opportunity for improved watershed management of the Apia Basin.

The S.M.S.M.C.L Project which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (G.E.F) is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P).  

The project is implemented by the Government of Samoa through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment through its Land Management Division.

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