Workshop report: Research policy interface: incentivizing communities for ecosystem services in Nepal, 9 November 2016

Workshop report: Research policy interface: incentivizing communities for ecosystem services in Nepal, 9 November 2016

In 2005, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) emphasized the importance of the link between the ecosystem, ecosystem services and human wellbeing to policy makers. The concept of ecosystem services is widely discussed in scientific and policy discourse. The decline of ecosystems and services provided by these ecosystems is notably linked to population growth, anthropogenic activities, climate change, and inadequate policies addressing them. A number of studies show that the continuous decline on ecosystem services is due to a collective failure of science-policy process, or a divide between science and policy. To address these gaps and to strengthen research policy interface, many United Nations (UN) Member countries supported to establish The Intergovernmental science-policy ‘Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (PBES)’ under the umbrella of ‘Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).’ In recent years, payment for ecosystem services (PES) is widely discussed and piloted as a financial instrument to support financing for the sustainable supply of ecosystem services.

Nepal, as a conference of parties to the CBD, has committed to conserve its unique ecosystems and biodiversity, with possible reform on policies and institutional arrangements. Nepal’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP, 2014-2020), highlights policy and institutions as key to the success of managing its ecosystems. However, NBSAP also identified research-policy inter-linkage as one of the gaps in formulating policies and institutional arrangement. Science-policy discourse is urgently needed to support policy formulation process. This comes at a time when Nepal has already agreed to reform its federal structure.

PES is a financial and market based instrument to support sustainability and ecosystem financing. A number of small scale pilots have been practiced in Nepal, through various institutions. As result, a wide range of knowledge has been generated which could help the Government of Nepal in the decision making process. Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC), in collaboration with various conservation partners has recently drafted a national policy on PES which is under review and consideration for final approval at the ministry itself. The science available through small scale action research and pilots on PES could be instrumental to support drafting PES policy in Nepal.

The report was co-funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nepal.