Pro-poor Payment for Environmental Services: Some Considerations

April 2008

Authors: Berla Lelmona and Erica Lee

Publisher: RECOFTC and ICRAF, via the Rewarding Rural Poor for Upland Services (RUPES) project

January 2008

PES is a new concept gaining momentum in the Asia-Pacific region. But what are the enabling conditions for employing PES schemes, and how can they be made pro-poor?


Payment for Environmental Services (PES) sets up systems where beneficiaries of environmental services reward the providers of such services with payments or other non-financial goods (market access, land security, public services, infrastructure, capacity building). However, the Asia-Pacific region has relatively little experience with PES, and risks and challenges remain towards realizing pro-poor PES schemes.

This introductory brief considers several key questions:

  • Why consider PES?
  • Under what conditions is PES likely to work?
  • What is the potential for a pro-poor PES scheme?
  • What are the challenges and potential risk for a pro-poor PES?
  • Potential roles for governments?


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