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Cablegate: Oas Discusses Payment for Ecosystem Services in The

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RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHBR #0836/01 1701849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181849Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1903
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0280
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0295
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RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0498
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5593
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0388
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 6292
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3834
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2493
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4603
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6869
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000836

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USAID TO LAC/RSD, LAC/SAM, G/ENV, PPC/ENV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: OAS DISCUSSES PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN THE
AMERICAS

BRASILIA 00000836 001.2 OF 002


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Approximately 30 people from nine countries of the Americas
(including Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil)
attended the OAS event "Trends in the Implementation of Payments for
Ecosystem Services (PES) in the Americas" June 04 in Sao Paulo. The
discussion took place within the 12th International Conference on
Environmental Law, organized annually by the Brazilian NGO Law for a
Green Planet. The day-long event offered an opportunity for
countries to share their experiences in environmental conservation
through PES and discuss how legislation in each country can
stimulate and strengthen PES transactions. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------
THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF PES PROJECTS
--------------------------------------

2. During the 2006 OAS Meeting of Ministers and High-Level
Authorities on Sustainable Development in Santa Cruz (Bolivia),
member countries agreed to create incentives for PES projects.
Currently, thirteen of the 34 member states of the OAS have Payment
for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs with over 400 projects
implemented throughout the hemisphere. PES projects include: water
basin protection; biodiversity conservation; landscape and scenic
beauty conservation; and carbon sequestration.

3. According to Richard Huber, Principal Environmental Specialist
of OAS's Department of Sustainable Development (DSD), the U.S. has
the greatest number of PES projects in the Western Hemisphere (42%),
most of which are related to soil carbon sequestration and coal mine
methane recovery. Other WHA countries with a significant number of
PES projects include: Costa Rica (12%), Mexico (26%), Brazil (4%),
Ecuador (6%), and Colombia (3%).

4. The DSD office within OAS is responsible for strengthening
hemispheric efforts to protect ecosystems and the services they
provide, as well as facilitate access to PES mechanisms through a
regional exchange of information, experiences, and lessons learned.
The DSD has also been analyzing PES transaction trends and the
challenges and contributions of legal and institutional frameworks
to the implementation of PES schemes. The product of this analysis
is a document titled "Conceptual and Methodological Guidelines for
the Design of PES Schemes in Latin America and the Caribbean", and
is available online:
http://www.oas.org/dsd/SpecialMeetings/PESmee ting.htm.

------------------------------------
REGIONAL EFFORTS AND SUCCESS STORIES
------------------------------------

5. The "Conceptual and Methodological Guidelines for the Design of
PES Schemes" document highlights success stories from Colombia,
Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, including the following project
summaries.

6. In 1997, Bolivia developed one of the world's first projects
addressing compensation for carbon sequestration and avoided
deforestation project, in the Noel Kempff Mercador Park. This
project aims to avoid the emission of nearly 7 million tons of
carbon through the conservation of 634 thousand hectares of forest

BRASILIA 00000836 002.2 OF 002


over a 30-year period.

7. In Peru, the city of Moyobamba (population 40 thousand),
residents pay an extra fee in their water bill to support upper
watershed preservation activities by local inhabitants.

8. In Ecuador, San Pedro de Pimampiro, Imbabura Province
(population 17,285) residents pay an additional 20% above water use
charges to support payments to upstream watershed forest landowners.
With NGO support, the municipality created its own environmental
unit and now performs other environmental management activities.

9. In Colombia, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute and CIFOR
(Center for International Forestry Research) implemented a PES water
project designed to achieve conservation and sustainable use of
forests in the Chaina basin. Under this PES scheme, water users
compensate farmers employing appropriate environmental land
practices.

10. In Brazil, the government is currently discussing a National
Plan for the Payment of Ecosystem Services in which the GOB would be
the "broker" of payment schemes, and every PES agreement would be
processed by the Ministry of Environment. Implementation of such a
plan is likely to be controversial and lengthy.

11. COMMENT: OAS is in its first stage of pushing for a
hemisphere-wide standard which could guide all member countries.
Despite its shy approach to this regional effort, OAS has an
opportunity to prove its role in leading conservation efforts
throughout the region. END COMMENT

SOBEL

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