Tropentag 2023: Bridging ecology and economy with payments for ecosystem services (PES)
- Impact Area
Globally, five out of six farms are operated by smallholders who produce around one third of the world’s food. These farms provide a wide range of additional ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, pollination, and cultural and supporting services. Yet smallholder households face continued and often growing challenges to making a living, and are the poorest and most food-insecure populations in low-and middle-income countries. Evidence suggests that payments for ecosystem services (PES) can diversify smallholder earnings and incentivize more sustainable farming and land management practices. A September 21 panel discussion at the Tropentag 2023 conference in Berlin, organized by IFPRI, CGIAR, and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), focused on the challenges and opportunities of PES.
Moderator Claudia Ringler, Director of IFPRI’s Natural Resources and Resilience Unit, set the session’s tone by highlighting the significance of PES. Johann Swinnen, IFPRI Director General and Managing Director of the CGIAR Systems Transformation Science Group, emphasized the pivotal role of PES in the transformation of food systems. Swinnen said that the limited application of PES thus far can be attributed to complexities associated with measurements, information availability, implementation, and enforcement. He stressed the necessity of moving beyond theoretical discussions to gain a practical understanding of how PES can enhance the resilience of food systems.