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Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region

03 Dec 2017

Each country and region of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) faces pressing environmental and developmental challenges, with rural, mountainous areas most deeply affected. Deforestation, changes in land use, and unsustainable soil and water management practices present physical challenges, while outmigration and challenges to health, education, poor infrastructure and market access complicate poverty challenges.

Large-scale solutions for sustainable development and climate action are important, but are often limited to the global and national levels. Urgent focus is needed on small, tangible solutions that may help local development as well as bring sustainable, locally relevant management solutions.

Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by improving ecosystem functioning, maintaining ecosystem service flows, and supporting biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration. When applied well, they can improve connections and incentive systems between the ecosystems that create benefits (and the people who manage/affect them) and the recipients of those benefits. Improvements over time to IES systems can lead to meaningful contributions to community and rural development (including local institutions) and cooperation, income diversification and resilience. They can also prove an important source of financing for sustainable development and adaptation to/mitigation of climate change.

Tags: ecosystem biodiversity conservation deforestation Himalaya land use water

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