Regional Synthesis of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) in the Greater Mekong Region

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This report synthesizes the country studies on PES schemes in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – that were prepared for a regional review – to compare the various schemes, to assess their current status, implementation processes and lessons learned, and to draw policy recommendations relevant to REDD+. A summary discussion of the definitions of PES is provided, given that the definitional issue is raised in the individual reports. That discussion is used to present a comprehensive framework of the key design features of PES, which is then used to outline the features of the PES schemes in the four country studies before presenting a comparison of their key features and issues. Then, the key lessons learnt from the country studies and this review, as well as the policy recommendations relevant to REDD+, are derived.
The countries are almost on a continuum in terms of actors implementing PES schemes, from Vietnam with a national, government-implemented scheme, to Cambodia where the government seems to be uninterested in PES, and NGOs are therefore the only implementers. The environmental services (ES) for which the schemes have been developed are quite clearly defined, but less clear is the extent (i.e. amount) that is targeted. The potential beneficiaries of the schemes are relatively clear from the country reports, but less certain is whether there are real, objective benefits for some of the identified beneficiaries. The provision of benefits to the ES providers is unlikely to occur, or simply be viable, unless resource use or property rights are attributed to them. A related concern is that the costs of providing the ES services have not been assessed by any of the schemes. The monitoring and compliance system, information system and contracting of ES providers have only been implemented (in part) in Vietnam’s scheme.

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