During my IWRM webinar a few weeks ago, a viewer asked about IWRM and payments for ecosystem services. I told her that I would look into the issue.
One of the first items I found was a PhD dissertation by Jochen Hack from the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany. It is in English. I subsequently found the journal article based upon his PhD work.
Here is the journal article:
Jochen Hack (2015) Application of payments for hydrological ecosystem services to solve problems of fit and interplay in integrated water resources management, Water International, 40:5-6, 929-948, DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2015.1096122
This article assesses the role of payments for hydrological ecosystem services for integrated water resources management within the water–energy–food nexus. Current challenges of implementation are structured according to spatial fit and institutional interplay. An empirical analysis of several case studies of locally self-organized payments for hydrological ecosystem services in Nicaragua reveals potential contributions to operationalization of integrated water resources management and the water–energy–food nexus.
If you want the whole nine yards, here is the dissertation:
This dissertation documents, analyzes and interprets the state of knowledge of the global Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) implementation process. Based on a comprehensive assessment of global implementation reports and the scientific discourse of two decades general problems of implementation and specific constraints to the process in developing countries are identified. Moreover, present IWRM trajectories and recommendations towards improvements of implementation and operationalization are derived from scientific and practitioner’s experience. Hence, the principal contribution of this dissertation in this basic problem analysis is a detailed clarification of the problem statement of IWRM implementation in developing countries and the provision of guiding principles for improvements.
Identified solution approaches are further conceptualized methodologically by applying the theoretical concept of institutional fit and interplay. In the following, this dissertation asserts that problems of institutional fit and interplay need to be solved interdependently with due regard to specific opera- tional constraints of local contexts in developing countries in order to successfully implement IWRM at an operational management level, i.e. operationalization of IWRM. Hence, this dissertation compares different policy instruments to achieve this based on an actor-centered incentive approach. It is argued that improvements require a mix of policies with specific instruments to enhance institutional fit and interplay suitable for context-specific operational constraints. This dissertation exposes that traditional command and control approaches for IWRM operationalization are insufficient and complementary instruments are necessary to address the prevailing implementation gaps. The instrument of Payments for Hydrological Ecosystem Services (PHES) is identified as a potentially suitable policy instrument because it combines several beneficial characteristics of communication / diffusion and economic instruments with characteristics of collaborative agreements. Applying the concept of institutional fit and interplay in the context of operational constraints of developing countries to identify suitable policy instruments for improved IWRM operationalization, as done in this dissertation, is a particularly novel approach.
In order to assess the potential contributions of PHES schemes to the operationalization of IWRM, the concept of ecosystem services and their valuation as its theoretical basis, are examined concerning the solutions it provides to address the governance challenges of institutional fit and interplay. In this context, hydrological ecosystems services and the their valuation are addressed specifically. Thus, this dissertation contributes to understanding how the application and valuation process of hydrological ecosystem services inherently define spatial relationships between potential service providers and beneficiaries based on functional ecosystem linkages. Subsequently, it is illustrated how the concept can positively influence the identification of appropriate context-specific scales for operational IWRM as a result of fit and interplay interdependence. Additionally, a cross-sectoral and cross-jurisdictional integration effect of the concept is acknowledged. The concept of hydrological ecosystem services has not yet been considered in relation to problems of fit and interplay in IWRM implementation as presented in this work. Hence, this dissertation provides additional insights in this regard.
In a further theoretical analysis, this dissertation documents, analyzes and interprets the state of knowledge of the economic conceptualization of the PHES instrument. It brings forward supporting arguments for a less market-based and therefore a stronger multi-faceted incentive-based interpretation of PHES. Based on a broad meta-analysis of global and regional PES scheme assessments, the principal characteristics of the instrument and its implementation are identified. A comprehensive instrument characterization of this kind is a further significant contribution of this dissertation which has not been done yet to a similar extent. The characterization and instrument assessment provides important insights with regard to the typical roles of different actors and the provision of incentives for behavioral change towards IWRM. Moreover, it contributes to understanding how the instrument can potentially address institutional challenges of IWRM operationalization in the context of general operational constraints. However, locally user-(co-)financed PHES schemes as a particular type were identified as especially conducive to engaging stakeholders and to promoting public participation.
Finally, the role of the PHES instrument in the context of a national IWRM process is assessed based on an empirical example taken from Nicaragua. This dissertation provides a comprehensive documentation of the national IWRM process in Nicaragua and its principal implementation gaps. The generalization of implementation gaps and specifically operational constraints made before can be confirmed for the Nicaraguan IWRM process. Moreover, the shortcomings of a formal top-down implementation approach based on command and control instruments alone are highlighted as well. Further valuable findings can be derived from this dissertation for other developing countries with a similar IWRM process through the analysis of contributions of locally user-(co-)financed PHES schemes to solve the problems of institutional fit and interplay in Nicaragua. Additionally, this dissertation reveals how the PHES instrument fits into an existing policy mix in Nicaragua and how it interacts with traditional regulations.
Hence, this work provides guidance on how to improve context-specific fit and horizontal interplay at the operational level of IWRM as well as on how to complement the primarily top-down directed IWRM implementation from bottom-up. Hence, this dissertation documents that the PHES instrument is more than a tool to finance nature conservation. Indeed, it shows that the implementation and execution process of PHES schemes fulfills several other tasks which are essential for the operationalization of IWRM.
Take your pick!
"We might say that the Earth has the spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil." - Leonardo da Vinci (thanks @highcountrynews)