IUCN - Promoting watershed services… linking knowledge with practice

Promoting watershed services… linking knowledge with practice

30 April 2010 | News story

By setting payment schemes for nature’s goods and services, we will create an opportunity for economic growth and human security. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature has promoted the value of putting price on watershed services through Pay, a book that was published by IUCN Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) in 2006. IUCN Regional Office for West Asia has built on this book through holding a national workshop on establishing payments for watershed services in Jordan on April 27th, 2010.

“In order to achieve sustainability goals, it is important to integrate the value of nature services in the decision making process.” said Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi, Regional Director, IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA).

The one-day workshop introduced the participants to the different dimensions of environmental economics, emphasizing people and nature’s benefits from watershed “catchment” services. According to Pay, people use services provided by the ecosystem around them, yet those services are not recognized until the moment they cease to exist. Water-related services provided by ecosystems can vary from freshwater supply, livestock production, medicines, hydroelectric power to other kinds of services such as natural hazards mitigation (e.g. flood prevention), cultural heritage and identity, wildlife habitat and many others.

Designing effective, efficient, sustainable and equitable payment schemes for watershed services was also tackled during the workshop. One of the most important issues when we talk about payment schemes is creating a watershed services market, which includes identifying the goods and services, sellers, buyers and other related issues like land and water access and property.

IUCN ROWA conducted this workshop through the Zarqa River Restoration Project which is implemented by Ministry of Environment in Jordan in cooperation with IUCN ROWA and funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). Four case studies from Zarqa river basin were presented to the twenty participants, who brainstormed to identify the payment schemes, goods and services, negotiating parties and practical solutions for each of the cases presented. The cases were related to the agricultural and irrigation behaviors in Zarqa river area, upstream downstream users as well as revolving funds that were developed in that area to motivate local communities to better manage their natural resources such as use of modern irrigation techniques and different types of crops.

For more information, please contact Mufleh Abbadi, Zarqa River Restoration Project Coordinator, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) – Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA): mufleh.abbadi@iucn.org