Business-case training workshop jump-starts co-investment in Philippine watershed
Farmers and members of the Payments for Ecosystems Services Working Group of Lantapan sub-watersheds are learning how to develop business cases for co-investment in agroforestry.
Most markets in the world don’t really trade in ‘watershed protection’ and ‘water provision’. However, a project in the municipality of Lantapan, southern Philippines wants to improve smallholders’ livelihoods and resilience in the face of climate change and market shocks through creating markets for watershed protection services, an idea also known as co-investment in watershed protection.
Co-investment schemes, which are very similar to payments for ecosystem services, may be seen as a cost-effective way of improving environmental management by rewarding communities for their efforts in providing ecosystem services. It is, in a way, communities ‘selling’ ecosystem services, such as watershed protection, to other communities or organizations that benefit from them.
In the case of the Lantapan sub-watersheds, farmers are involved as ‘sellers’ of watershed protection services in co-investment schemes developed as a part of the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project. Implemented by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Smart Tree-Invest is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, with other sites in Indonesia and Viet Nam.
Researchers from ICRAF Philippines met with leading farmers and local government units of Lantapan to create a strategy for implementing a co-investment scheme in the municipality. They agreed to involve local people’s organizations as ‘sellers’. Representatives from the Association of Lantapan Sustainable Agroecological Zone, Tala-andig Tribal Organization and members of the Payments for Ecosystem Services Working Group would then be involved in developing business cases.
So, what is a business case?
‘A business case is basically like a proposal. It includes profiles of the watershed and the sellers, the environmental services that could be offered, the list of activities for providing the services and the costing’, said Kharmina Evangelista, the project coordinator for Smart Tree-Invest Philippines.
Farmers and members of the working group were invited to attend a business-case training workshop, 8–12 March 2016. The final outputs for the workshop were drafts of business cases for the sub-watershed clusters in Lantapan prepared by the 27 participants.
Margaret Calderon, a consultant to Smart Tree-Invest, introduced the concept of PES and co-investment schemes. Another consultant to Smart Tree-Invest, Julie Carl Ureta, led a discussion on development of business cases.
The workshop was not without challenges. The researchers found that the participants were not familiar with areas of the watershed and, thus, had some difficulty with three-dimensional mapping of the watershed. Participants from local government units also had to attend other concurrent events in the municipality. However, the participants were very interested in the process and are looking forward to the upcoming activities.
The researchers also noted that the participants from the Tala-andig Tribal Organization were somewhat reserved in participating in the discussions. Accordingly, the researchers plan to conduct the workshop again specifically for the Tala-andig community. Costing of the business cases would also be finalized. After all this is completed, and the business cases packaged, the participants will be able to present these to potential ‘buyers’ of the services and also to the Bukidnon Watershed Management Council.
This work is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry