What is the Katoomba Group?

Agriculture Biodiversity Climate Forests Investments Water Jan 1, 2001

The Katoomba Group is an international working group composed of leading experts from forest and energy industries, research institutions, the financial world, and environmental NGOs dedicated to advancing markets for some of the ecosystem services provided by forests—such as watershed protection, biodiversity habitat, and carbon storage. The Katoomba Group seeks to address key challenges for developing markets for ecosystem services, from enabling legislation to establishing new market institutions, to developing strategies for pricing and marketing, and monitoring performance.

Where does the Katoomba Group work?

The Katoomba Group is an international organization; it builds on the knowledge and experience of network members who attend international meetings. The group met for the first time in Katoomba, Australia in 1999. Subsequent meetings have taken place in Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, London, Tokyo, Zürich, Bangkok, Uganda, and Portland, OR, and most recently in São Paulo, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa. The meetings provide a forum for exchange as members seek to influence key policy-makers and catalyze diverse partnerships. In recent years, the Katoomba Group recognized the need for increased institutional, scientific and financial capacity concerning payments for ecosystem services in Africa and Latin America. Based on this recognition, the Katoomba Group launched several regional Katoomba Groups.

Katoomba Africa

Finding new sources of finance beyond the public sector and overseas development assistance is especially urgent in Africa. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has documented large-scale ecosystem degradation in many parts of Africa which threatens food security and basic access to water for human consumption and economic development, as well as globally and locally important biodiversity. African countries have become increasingly interested in payments for ecosystem services (PES) over recent years and a number of projects have emerged on an ad hoc basis. However, there has been little discussion and assessment about the strategic role PES can or should play in achieving economic and environmental objectives. Accordingly, the Katoomba Group agreed in 2005 that a regional East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group network should be established, based on the model of the international Katoomba Group. The Vision of the group is that within 25 years, Payments for Ecosystem Services are contributing significantly to realizing conservation (and development) outcomes. The group envisions that within 5 years, the institutional framework, enabling environment and technical/financial capacity is in place to make sufficient contributions to environmental and development goals. Learn more about Katoomba Africa and its work »

Resources for those working on PES programs in Africa

Background Materials

Discussions of emerging environmental markets and conservation payment programs often feel like an impenetrable swamp of acronyms and lingo. Ecology, economics, law, policy and business are all highly complex subjects, and charting the connections between them can be difficult. The Ecosystem Marketplace prepared an introductory guide to the conservation economy that may be useful to those interested in PES in Africa. See the Ecosystem Marketplace's Backgrounder on Ecosystem Services and Environmental Markets »

PES Project Inventories

In order to inform its work and facilitate the transfer of knowledge between PES programs operating across the African continent, Katoomba Africa has conducted surveys of current PES projects. See the Katoomba Africa's PES Assessments and Case Studies » The Center for International Forestry Reserach (CIFOR) also maintains a website full of information about PES programs in the tropics. See CIFOR's database of PES projects »

Print Publications

The Ecosystem Marketplace's editorial team has produced a number of features about payments for ecosystem services in various regions of Africa. Many of these features were collected in an edited volume entitled A Tale of Two Continents: Ecosystem Services in Latin America and East and Southern Africa (pdf). You can also search the Ecosystem Marketplace's archives for articles, organizations or tools relating to ecosystem services in Africa.

News Articles

To search the Ecosystem Marketplace's articles for Africa related content select "AFRICA" from the dropdown menu under "GEOGRAPHIC REGION" in our news section. Visit our news section »

Case Studies and Research Papers

To search the Ecosystem Marketplace's library for Africa related content select "AFRICA" from the dropdown menu under "GEOGRAPHIC REGION" in our library section. Visit our library section »


To search the Ecosystem Marketplace's archive of tools for Africa related content select "AFRICA" from the dropdown menu under "GEOGRAPHIC REGION" in our tools section. Visit our tools section »


To search the Ecosystem Marketplace's directory of organizations for Africa related content select "AFRICA" from the dropdown menu under "GEOGRAPHIC REGION" in our directory. Visit our directory »

The Tropical America Katoomba Group

The Tropical America Katoomba Group held its first region-wide meeting in Brazil in 2006. Just as Katoomba Africa is designed to focus on building capacity on the African continent, The Tropical America Katoomba Group will focus on catalyzing payments for ecosystem services throughout Tropical America.