In Africa, there is growing interest in markets and payments for the ecosystem services (PES), particularly deals related to carbon sequestration, watershed protection, and biodiversity conservation. These emerging markets and payments have the potential to improve rural livelihoods, create incentives for sustainable land management, and even conserve biodiversity throughout the continent.
Today, however, PES in the East and Southern African region primarily occurs on an ad hoc basis through small-scale pilot projects. Information gaps, lack of capacity to design and manage projects and the absence of institutions to support on-the-ground implementation have largely hindered efforts to scale up.
The East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group (E&SA KG) aims to address these impediments by providing a forum to develop a shared understanding of PES in the region. The E&SA KG was formally launched in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2006. Participants from various parts of the world including East and Southern Africa, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, the UK, and the USA attended the launch. Current work is focused on establishing the network and identifying PES initiatives—both potential and existing—that could offer rich learning opportunities around the development of PES in the region. By identifying potential areas for ‘site structured learning’, the E&SA KG will provide both a forum for sharing site-based lessons as well as a conduit for problem solving.