The USAID Protect Wildlife project has been assisting project partners in establishing mechanisms for payments for ecosystem services (PES) to finance conservation activities. PES revenues are being ploughed back into conservation efforts for the protection, restoration, regulation, and management of conservation areas. They become predictable and stable source of funding for conservation activities that include support for community livelihoods and enterprises.
In General Santos City, close to 45 participants from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units (LGUs), and water utility enterprises in and around the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL) met to negotiate on PES agreements for each watershed among users of various ecosystems goods and services from MMPL.
Prior to negotiation, the DENR and LGUs presented their chosen watershed restoration mixes, timing of implementation, areas covered, and the value of ecosystem goods and services, including water, using the cost-based approach to resource valuation. The valuation for each watershed was translated to restoration cost per hectare and cost estimate of water per cubic meter.
In turn, ten local water utility enterprises presented their respective cost-revenue analyses, highlighting key operational and financial performance indicators. After each presentation, Protect Wildlife project staff members facilitated the negotiation between the enterprises and the LGU-DENR recommendations and PES agreements. Concerned parties would finalize and sign the PES agreements, and conduct an orientation on operationalizing PES and reinvestment planning and implementation of conservation activities using PES revenues. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)