The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a consultation in Lima, Peru on 24-25 September as part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” (the Initiative) to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. The first of this series of consultations took place in Mexico City, Mexico on 13-14 August and similar consultations are slated for: Colombia, on 29-30 October 2009; Ecuador; Central America (in Guatemala); Venezuela; Brazil; and another for the Caribbean nations, the venue of which is to be agreed. Each seeks the inputs of national experts and stakeholders.
The Peruvian consultation included participants from: government entities; conservation groups; the academic community; organizations representing Peru’s regions; indigenous communities; and associations and companies representing the forestry, finance, hydrocarbon, fishery and ecological product sectors. On 24 September, participants heard morning plenary presentations on the Initiative and the national context, and in the afternoon they broke out into two working groups to discuss emblematic Peruvian policies, identify key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services and any existing barriers to such investments, and propose ideas for financing biodiversity and ecosystem service projects. Working groups resumed their deliberations on 25 September by first discussing insights from two case studies involving other countries, followed by recommendations for key messages and arguments the regional report should reflect and strategies to ensure its effective dissemination and follow-up. In the closing plenary session participants discussed a summary of the consultation’s inputs to the regional report.
The 2008-2011 UNDP Regional Programme for LAC has identified the Initiative as one of its regional strategic areas. Organized in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Initiative aims to convince policy- and decision-makers in the region to invest in and maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The Initiative’s primary product will be a report examining a number of issues including: financial and economic benefits and costs to countries from sustainable ecosystem management; the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystems to sectoral production and outputs; their economic value; and the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in promoting growth and equity. The report’s production is supervised and guided by a Commission for Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Finance and Development composed of the region’s political leaders, economists, businessmen and civil society representatives. The report’s quality control will be overseen by a technical advisory committee of regional, finance and economic experts, while much of the report’s actual preparation will be done by a central technical committee composed primarily of environmental economists. With a view to reflecting the diverse experiences and views of LAC nations, a series of consultations across the region is also scheduled to seek direct input from representatives of governments, civil society, indigenous communities, academia and the private sector.
The final report is intended not only to contribute to national polices, but also to global and regional key policy events that will be held in 2010, including the: tenth Conference of the Parties to CBD; International Year of Biodiversity; Latin American, Ibero-American and European Union/Latin America and Caribbean summits; and post-Kyoto negotiations. The Initiative will also contribute to a global study being undertaken on Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity sponsored by the European Commission and the German Ministry of Environment.
MEXICO CONSULTATION: The first consultation under the Initiative took place in Mexico City, Mexico on 13-14 August and was attended by representatives of government entities, conservation groups, indigenous communities, the academic community and the state hydrocarbons firm, Pemex. Participants held discussions on four themes: contributions of biodiversity and ecosystem services to LAC’s development and equity; paradigmatic cases of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in Mexico and their impact on development and equity; strategic areas and mechanisms to promote investment in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services; and inputs to the regional report.
REPORT OF THE PERUVIAN CONSULTATION
Facilitated by Claudia Martinez, E3 Consulting (Colombia), the consultation opened on Thursday 24 September. Jorge Chediek, Resident Representative, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Peru, observed the UNDP regional initiative “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” (the Initiative) occurs against the background of the global climate change talks and movement toward forging a new, “green” development concept. He said the challenge is to ensure that any new restrictions on natural resource use do not condemn those who have not yet enjoyed the benefits of development. He said biodiversity protection should no longer be viewed in its conventional sense, as preserving physical space, but rather as an instrument for development. He expressed hope that Peru would become a model country for such an approach.
Alex Pires, Programme Officer, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), stressed that LAC is very rich in biodiversity terms, that much of its economy is linked to natural resources, and biodiversity is an issue that affects us all. He said UNEP seeks a green economy that promotes sustainable growth with equitable access to resources and distribution of the benefits from them. He explained the Initiative’s connection with a global project, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). In its first phase, a TEEB diagnostic found that a possible US$45 billion investment in protected areas could assure the delivery of US$5 trillion per year in ecosystem services. He further explained that the second phase now underway seeks to identify good experiences, develop a common approach to analyzing ecosystem services and promote access to information in order to improve the participation of civil society in biodiversity management.
Antonio Brack Egg, Environment Minister, Peru, said Peru’s challenge is to grow economically without destroying ecosystems. He said Peru’s Amazon already provides revenue from tourism and products such as Brazil nuts, yet the importance of its biodiversity is not fully appreciated, and cited the example that the government invests heavily in promoting livestock rearing, yet the fish of Peru’s rivers are the country’s number one source of protein. Brack said the challenge in the Amazon is to figure out how to break the traditional development model, promoting profitable activities that also protect biodiversity and provide income for indigenous community. He suggested that promoting tourism and certified wood alone will not suffice.
Brack said Peru is destroying its water sources in the Andean region, with multiple serious implications. He stressed the importance of Peru’s protected areas, which generate millions in tourism and contribute to water quality and energy generation. Brack raised the issue of how best to get Peruvian families whose livelihood depends on fisheries involved in better management of marine bio-resources. He noted the ecosystem services bill in the Peruvian Congress. He urged that the Initiative’s final product be technically sound, but clear, concise and couched in practical language that politicians can readily understand and act upon.
FIRST SESSION: CONTRIBUTIONS OF BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES TO LAC’S DEVELOPMENT AND EQUITY
Emma Torres, Senior Adviser, UNDP Regional Bureau for LAC, explained the Initiative’s origin, organization and principal objectives. She said the Initiative aims at encouraging the region’s leaders to recognize the value of LAC’s biodiversity in promoting economic growth, equity and competitiveness. She underscored that LAC is a biodiversity superpower, and as the world’s green economy develops, it can be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the trend. Torres said the Initiative’s report will highlight the cost of inaction. She emphasized that as many of the region’s recent emblematic cases are not documented or widely-known, the consultations are essential for gathering such information.
During ensuing discussions, in response to a participant’s question about the Initiative’s relationship to current work under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Torres explained that CBD is a co-sponsor of Initiative, and UNDP is working closely with them. Another participant suggested ensuring that other global and regional efforts, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), can take full advantage of the information generated by the Initiative. Martinez responded that the Initiative will be issuing a compendium of all case studies and information sources gathered exactly for that purpose.
Jorge Elgegren, consultant, UNDP, discussed the report’s three main messages that: sustainable ecosystem management (MES) is important for economic growth; MES particularly benefits the poor who have the most to lose by following Business As Usual (BAU); and moving from “conventional use” of biodiversity to MES is economically viable. He reviewed some barriers to greater sustainable use already identified, such as lack of financial and technical resources devoted to protected areas and the competition for land use. He explained that the report’s methodology in the case of Peru is to identify the five focus sectors identified as agriculture, forest management, fisheries, protected areas and tourism, and that for each, the report will look at contribution to growth and equity using indicators including: employment; tax revenues; trade balance; productivity; and profitability. He further explained that the report would examine cross-cutting issues such as water, energy, health and climate change. He then listed several examples of the types of specific issues and case studies UNDP is considering for the report.
Elgegren then briefed the meeting on several Peruvian cases being considered for the regional report, including: fish and fish meal; the medicinal plant uña de gato; national parks; the Rainforest Expeditions tourism enterprise; forest certification; organic and fair trade coffee; castaña (Brazil nut) cultivation; and the Tambopata National Reserve. He also called for more information to be contributed for the report on any perverse Peruvian subsidies that harm biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Fernando León, Environment Ministry (MINAM), Peru, noted that 50% of Peru’s GDP depends on natural resources and biodiversity. He suggested Peru is not yet fully realizing biodiversity’s economic potential, even in tourism and forestry certification. León said MINAM considers private companies as allies in developing sustainably. He discussed the importance of national protected areas in providing services such as water, tourism, and energy generation. He explained that the ecosystem services bill now in the Peruvian Congress seeks to facilitate such projects, provide new mechanisms for private sector participation, and organize all the various types of environmental service payments. He discussed a tax law issue inhibiting carbon credits for Peru as an example of the type of challenges posed in creating new markets. He urged making Peru a pilot study in following up the regional report’s recommendations.
In the ensuing discussion, one participant suggested taking advantage of the local development programmes mining concessionaires are required to fund, as long as MINAM can work out a normative mechanism to require mining firms to direct the money toward that end, and the local communities can get the technical assistance they need in order to propose viable environmental projects. Another observed that when an International Finance Corporation-WWF project in Bolivia and Nicaragua linking indigenous communities with forestry firms was originally scored on a classical cost-benefit basis, its projected return was considered negative, but when socio-environmental considerations were factored in, benefits far outweighed project costs. A third participant noted Peru’s Agriculture Ministry (MINAG) efforts to formalize local community involvement in managing resources, citing the example of butterflies.
A fourth participant suggested the fishery case studies discussed are outdated and that the sector has improved its environmental performance considerably, citing the case of anchovy production. He noted a recent Canadian study ranked Peru as first in sustainable fisheries development and that people from around the world come to the Marine Institute (IMARPE) to study how Peru sustainably manages fisheries. He also underscored the importance of research toward sustainable production using biological resources. Martinez agreed that this is an issue the regional report should discuss.
A fifth participant cautioned that the report should consider distinct levels for policy recommendations, noting that some may work in one nation but not another, and some policies may only work in certain regions or localities in a nation. He also urged balance in proposals to produce those that offer benefits both to business and to local communities, rather than pitting them against one another.
A sixth participant cautioned against the type of profitability calculations discussed by Elgegren, suggesting that it may not reflect everyday reality. Martinez agreed that the report needed to be careful about quantifying biodiversity’s economic value, in part because it cannot incorporate factors such as ethical considerations. Torres agreed that it was difficult to calculate the economic value of a plant that might one day generate a profitable cosmetic, or to value all the different environmental services a forest may bring.
SECOND SESSION: PARADIGMATIC CASES OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN PERU AND THEIR IMPACT ON DEVELOPMENT AND EQUITY
During Thursday afternoon’s first session, participants divided into two working groups to identify which Peruvian experiences and policies can be considered emblematic and should be mentioned in the regional report. Following this the working group rapporteurs reported the conclusions to plenary.
Elgegren reported that Working Group A felt the emblematic cases were those that ensure/define resource rights and sharing of benefits, including: Rimachi Lake, in the management of hydro-biological resources; efforts by Peru’s Production Ministry (PRODUCE) to strengthen production of: chanque (sea urchins and conch); vicuña, brought back from near-extinction; taricalla (Amazon river turtles); the recovery of native cottons; and Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca, a model of tourism managed by a local community.
Isabel Guerrero Ochoa, University of the Pacific, reported that Working Group B considered as emblematic: Pluspetro, for its buffer zone around its cracking plant at Loberia beach and its work to mitigate impacts in Paracas through sanitation and site recovery; Employment Fund (Fundempleo) projects involving communal management of tara trees, using funds from the mining sector; work by the Ecological Products Association to promote non-timber products from the dry forest and help them enter the global fair trade market; the recovery of native varieties of colored cotton; the recovery and management of colored Alpaca suri; Peru’s Fisheries Ministry support for private enforcement at ports; MINAG programmes to support commercialization of products such as tara, butterflies, medicinal plants, Brazil nuts, pecari skins, and timber species with high commercial value; and anchovies.
In the subsequent discussion one participant stressed that indigenous communities did not oppose development or the private sector, but rather were concerned about ensuring that development is sustainable and involves the local community. Another participant raised the example of forest certification in Atlaya, where local communities manage rotating funds for sustainable forest management.
STRATEGIC AREAS AND MECHANISMS TO PROMOTE INVESTMENT IN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
During Thursday afternoon’s second session, the working groups were asked to identify: strategic sectors for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services; opportunity costs and existing barriers to sustainable management; how best to provide incentives to invest in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services; and innovative financing mechanism toward these ends. After they broke into groups, each working group rapporteur reported to the plenary.
Daniel Arancibia, WWF, reported that Working Group A agreed on: adding mining and hydrocarbons to the five sectors mentioned by Elgegren; utilizing thematic maps where possible; having the agriculture section address food security; and discussing the role of biofuel production, the impact of the global move of pulp and paper production from Europe and North America to South America; adding the role/impact of infrastructure (dams, roads, ports, etc.) to the cross-cutting issues discussion; identifying three barrier types - political (making biodiversity a top priority and including it explicitly in the work of the National Center for Strategic Planning – CEPLAN), institutional (clearly defining competencies and what should be centralized or decentralized) and technical (research and training priorities and labor migration); identifying the opportunity costs vis-à-vis greater investment in tourism in protected areas, finding markets for sustainably-managed products, and accounting for property or use rights; and taking advantage of reduction in deforestation and land degradation (REDD) or “REDD+” schemes and differentiated fuel taxes (the more polluting the fuel, the higher the tax) for financing.
Damis Zegarra Gonza, Peruvian Association of Small Ecological Producers (APEPROECO), said Working Group B suggested adding to the regional report’s discussion of priority sectors and cross-cutting issues: Andean agriculture and livestock; CO2 capture, for example in the Tambopata case; water; the environmental services bill; the problem of improper use of funds set aside by mining companies; and transgenics. They also suggested discussing: trade barriers such as sanitary/phytosanitary restrictions; biodiversity’s lack of priority in Peru’s science and technology funding; intellectual property issues such as lack of patents for traditional knowledge and indications of origin problems; policies regarding research targeted toward added commercial value and production efficiency and strengthening competiveness in global markets - noting that Peruvian Alpaca now competes with Australia; educating the public; and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) financing strategy ideas regarding the fight against desertification.
In the subsequent discussion, participants further suggested: emphasizing gastronomic tourism; seeking more financing, perhaps through micro-finance, to help local and regional governments to get more involved in biodiversity projects; developing prizes or other forms of public recognition for local conservation projects; and emphasizing natural “cosmo-ceutical” - cosmetic/pharmaceutical - products.
FOURTH SESSION: DISCUSSION OF CASE STUDIES
On Friday morning in plenary, Pires summarized the prior day’s work. Maria-José Baptista, UNDP, then presented two TEEB case studies, one on ecosystem service payments (PES) access in Paraguay (to be considered by Working Group B), the other on motivating Indonesian authorities to adequately protect Leuser National Park in Aceh Province through studies of the economic losses (to be considered by Working Group A). The working groups were asked to ponder the lessons from these case studies and how they might relate to Peru’s situation. The working group rapporteurs then reported back to the plenary.
Porfirio Enriquez Salas, Camélidos Illa Breeders Association, reported that Working Group A concluded it was worthwhile attempting economic impact calculations such as that undertaken in Indonesia, since it can help force consideration of other uses of resources and any environmental liabilities. However, the group cautioned that such calculations in Peru tend to be poorly done, partial and politically driven. They suggested Peru currently lacks forms and systems for properly valorizing biodiversity loss and that impact estimates should be objective, fully documented, developed with input from all affected parties, and take into account all relevant social and environmental impacts.
Denis Osorio, Incaterra, reported that Working Group B considered that the principal problem is distributing gains among the community in a way that benefits everybody. The Group outlined requisites for improving the situation: formalization of peasant communities such as registration of property titles; accompaniment of the State as organizer; identification of ecosystem service demand and potential buyers; technical assistance to poor populations that provide ecosystem services; knowledge of the natural base, including what can be offered and what the marketplace is willing to pay; reduction of the role of intermediaries in the management of funds, and more provision of funds directly to the community; and clear rules.
In the ensuing discussion, one participant noted that in the case of the Pasco hydroelectric dam, US$15 million set aside for affected communities has still not reached the community. Another countered that communities often spend such funds poorly. A third complained that “ecosystem services” is too broad a term and more precise definitions are need. Martinez observed that PES is not a new concept, but the term itself has become fashionable.
INPUTS TO THE REGIONAL REPORT
Working groups were directed to reflect on several questions, in particular: what the principal arguments are to use to promote biodiversity and ecosystem services as contributing to growth and equity; how best to convince decision-makers on the need to invest in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services as cross-cutting foci in national development plans; and what actions should be undertaken to disseminate the regional report. Following their deliberations, the working group rapporteurs reported to plenary.
Ochoa reported that Working Group A felt the principal arguments should be long-term gains and that benefits accrue to the community, investors and ecosystems. The group noted that biodiversity: represents cultural heritage; can resolve social problems; forges linkages with green markets; and can help the state through tax revenues. To convince decision-makers, they suggested presenting successful experiences, identifying potential and highlighting how such initiatives can help universities as research tools. Regarding dissemination, they urged: free access to the information generated; convening roundtables; simplifying information; disseminating not just through the internet, but also via radio, television, and simple documents without technical jargon; sensitizing the private sector through press releases; and identifying key events in which to insert the topic into the agenda.
Juan José Rodriguez, The Nature Conservancy, reported that Working Group B suggested: making the argument using emblematic cases such as contributions of protected areas and biotrade; emphasizing links between biodiversity resource use and improving trade and reducing poverty; and listing perverse subsidies. To convince decision-makers, they recommended: showing economic data and indicators; prioritizing sectors for CEPLAN to incorporate into national development plans; showing gains in the short-, medium- and long-terms; forging alliances with sectors that really have clout with politicians, such as tourism; presenting the report to the Peruvian Congress; and taking full advantage of Minister Brack’s leadership. As for dissemination strategies, they suggested identifying key leaders in various audiences – religious, business, youth – and directing messages tailored to each.
On Friday, in closing plenary, Martinez presented a summary of the consultation’s main ideas and conclusions. On participants’ observations, she stressed several key points, including:
- Peru is a maritime nation and has advanced much in commercializing its marine products;
- that the difficult issue of forestry concessions requires public-private cooperation;
- that considerable private sector environmental compensation already exists in Peru;
- that how best to place value on externalities in projects involving communities;
- the need to take advantage of the Environment Minister’s dynamism; and
- the need to facilitate the role of private enterprise.
On emblematic experiences, she highlighted several, including:
- Rimachi Lake – management of hydro-biological resources;
- Aquaculture – Conch, sea urchins and chanque;
- Vicuña in San Cristóbal;
- the Tequile Island community in Lake Titicaca;
- the indigenous communities of Ucayali;
- the recovery of native cottons; and
- funding resources for inspection/control.
Regarding the sectors, opportunity costs, barriers and financing to discuss in the regional report, she noted recommendations to:
- at least cover agriculture, fisheries, forests, and tourism;
- include PAS – the Altomayo case;
- consider how to manage money from enforcement measures
- include the issue of transgenics;
- highlight the importance of commercialization;
- value Andean livestock and agriculture;
- fund science and technology for biodiversity;
- resist efforts to push Peru out of the global Alpaca market;
- emphasize there are more useable species in the forestry sector;
- stress the importance of education policies;
- note that global shifts in pulp and paper affect Peru;
- refer to displaced human settlements;
- discuss centralization vs. decentralization in the environment field;
- examine intellectual property rights vis-à-vis biodiversity; and
- take advantage of REDD.
On how best to reach and convince key decision-makers, she highlighted:
- stressing long-term profitable and sustainable gains;
- highlighting benefits to communities, investors and ecosystems;
- urging help to food production;
- representing biodiversity as cultural heritage;
- emphasizing biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services can help resolve social problems;
- stressing that the State will gain from tax revenues and formalizing currently informal economic actors;
- presenting successful experiences and identifying potentials;
- creating links with research institutions and universities;
- linking the report with climate change issues and achieving the Millennium Development Goals;
- using all media not just the internet, in disseminating the report, especially radio for areas where many people do not read or have internet access;
- developing roundtables; and
- simplifying information.
The consultation came to a close at 1 pm.
UNDP - LAC BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS CONSULTATIONS:The UN Development Programme –Latin America and the Caribbean region (LAC) Biodiversity and Ecosystems Consultations are taking place in eight countries across the region between August and October 2009. The first was held in Mexico City, Mexico, on 13-14 August, the second, as reported in this summary, was held in Lima, Peru, on 25-26 September. A consultation has been scheduled for Bogotá, Colombia on 28-29 October. Meeting dates have not yet been set for consultations in Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala (for the Central American nations), Venezuela and the Caribbean. For more information contact: María José Baptista, UNDP; tel: +1 212 906 54 18; fax: +1 212 906 6017; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SECOND INTERGOVERNMENTAL PLATFORM ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (IPBES II): IPBES II will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on 5-9 October 2009. Convened at the request of the twenty-fifth session of the UN Environment Programme Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum in February 2009 (UNEP GC-25/GMEF), IPBES II will, among other things, examine a gap analysis report from UNEP and options for action. For more information contact: Ruth Watulo, UNEP; tel. + 254-20-762-3485; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://ibpes.net/en/index.aspx
SIXTH EU-LAC SUMMIT: The sixth EU-LAC Summit will take place on 18 May 2010 in Madrid, preceded by a Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 17 May. The theme of the Summit will be: “Towards a new stage in the bi-regional partnership: Innovation and Technology for sustainable development and social inclusion.” The Madrid Summit aims to bring together not only Heads of State and Governments from LAC and Europe, but also important non-state actors. For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/lac/index_en.htm
IBERO-AMERICAN SUMMIT: The Twentieth Ibero-American Summit, bringing together heads of state and government from Spain, Portugal and the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Latin America, will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina on 11-12 November 2010. The subject of biodiversity is expected to be on the Summit agenda. For more information contact: Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB); tel: +34 91 590 19 80; fax: +34 91 590 19 81; Internet: http://www.segib.org
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY WORKING GROUP ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING (ABS WG 9): ABS WG9 will take place in Colombia on 18-24 March 2010 at a venue to be determined. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/
CBD COP 10: The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP 10) will meet in Nagoya, Japan on 18-29 October 2010. COP 10 is expected to assess achievement of the 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss, adopt an international regime on access and benefit-sharing and celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. A High-level Segment will be held from 27-29 October 2010. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/