Payment for environmental services: a promising tool for natural resources management in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has released the first report, titled ‘Payment for Environmental Services: A promising tool for natural resources management in Africa,’ of an AfDB-Climate Investment Funds (CIF) knowledge series that will gather and share initial lessons in implementing and financing green and inclusive growth projects in Africa. During the launch event of the report, Kurt Lonsway, Manager of the Environment and Climate Change Division of the AfDB, stated that, while payments for environmental services (PES) is still in its infancy on the continent, “it is crucial to gather and share the lessons learned and build an agenda for PES development in Africa.” The report discusses some early AfDB experiences in promoting the use of PES as an implementation mechanism for carbon sequestration projects in the context of the Forest Investment Program and the Congo Basin Forest Fund. Drawing on three East African case studies – the Trees for Global Benefit project in Uganda, the Land Leases Program in the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya, and Equitable Payments for Watershed Services in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania – the report stresses that PES must be adapted to the African context in order to mitigate the associated risks, especially those linked to increased conflict over natural resources as well as “asymmetric contracts resulting in unfair arrangements, elite capture, mismanagement and perverse incentives.”