International workshop on Alternative Discourses of Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Global South, April 10-12, 2017, Duke University
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) provide financial incentives to landowners to manage ecosystems in ways that are thought to produce environmental benefits: greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation, or cleaner and/or greater quantities of water downstream. Based on a neoclassical economic model of direct, voluntary transactions and promoted as more efficient and effective than government regulation, PES and other “market-based” approaches have dominated the discourse of environmental NGOs and government agencies since the 1990s. However, few, if any, existing initiatives conform to this original model. Understanding the ways in which the conceptualization and implementation of PES has been altered by grounded political, economic and cultural contexts is vitally important both for theorizing alternative logics of the value of nature and for the pragmatic goal of designing PES initiatives with positive environmental and social outcomes.
Duke University will host an innovative, three-day international workshop to bring together practitioners and scholars who have been integrally involved in implementing and/or researching six of the longest standing PES initiatives in the Global South into collaboration with each other and with a diversity of scholars and students of PES at Duke University and beyond. Combining multidisciplinary perspectives and grounded experience, teams of practitioners, scholars and students will work together to characterize the origins and dynamics of alternative discourses of PES and the ways in which they have altered the conformations of each of these initiatives. Outcomes of the workshop will include written policy white papers developed by each team, a journal special issue or book, and further collaborations amongst the formed network of workshop participants.
Proposed Case Studies
While we are interested in exploring alternative discourses of PES broadly, the following six initiatives have been selected as the primary focus of the workshop:
Brazil Bolsa Floresta, Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS)
Ecuador Programa Sociobosque, Ministerio del Ambiente de Ecuador
Mexico Programas Nacionales de Pagos por Servicios Ambientales, Comisión Nacional Forestal de México
Guatemala 48 Cantones, Totonicapán, Programa de Incentivos para Pequeños Poseedores de Tierras de Vocación Forestal o Agroforestal, Instituto Nacional de Bosques de Guatemala and Ecologic Development Fund
Vietnam Vietnam Forest Protection and Development Fund
South Africa Working for Water Program, Department of Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa
Groups of practitioners, scholars and students will work together during and directly after the workshop to develop policy white papers that will detail the alternative discourses of PES in each case, how these discourses have influenced project implementation and outcomes, and apply relevant theory to explain these dynamics.
There is no conference fee. Travel costs must be covered by participants, including flights (Raleigh-Durham airport), ground travel, hotel and most meals. Some funding is available to cover travel costs for participants who are directly associated with one of the six PES cases coming from the Global South and can be requested at the time of application.
Participants should plan to arrive in Durham, North Carolina by the late afternoon on Sunday, April 9 and stay through the evening of April 12. Commitment to attend the workshop for its entire duration and to contribute significantly to the development of the PES case study white papers is essential.
Application deadline: November 25, 2016
Notification of acceptance: December 5, 2016
Deadline for confirming participation: January 6, 2017
Workshop begins: morning of Monday, April 10, 2017
Workshop ends: evening of Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Final group case studies due: May 1, 2017