July 2017 - The GDSA, together with Conservation International (CI) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) hosted a high-level South-South Exchange on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to Washington D.C. and Costa Rica. The overall aim of this exchange was to expose Government and non-Government officials of Rwanda to success stories elsewhere. Costa Rica is the poster-child of PES, and has a long history of having implemented a successful PES scheme on the national level. Two Government officials from South Africa joined as GDSA ambassadors as well as to facilitate cross-continental learning.
The South-South Exchange took place between June 26 and July 2, 2017. It was an intense one-week program, entailing a day at CI’s headquarters in Washington D.C., where the delegation was welcomed by the CEO of CI, and learnt more about CI’s work on PES and within Rwanda. The remainder of the week was spent in Costa Rica and included high-level meetings in San Jose with the former President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and the current Minister of Environment, Edgar Guitérrez. The final three days were spent in the field to see PES in action, and to learn about the challenges and benefits of implementing PES.
The overarching objectives for the exchange were to:
- Provide a solid base of information on various topic relevant to PES from experts in the Cl headquarters in Washington D.C.;
- Expose the delegation to the institutional structures and financial mechanisms that Costa Rica has developed for implementing national conservation policies, as well as the role of the government in guiding this process;
- Expose the delegates to the research, valuation techniques, and job creation programs for PES and the economics of natural capital; and
- Expose participants to the political and institutional processes to implement innovate solution to landscape management.
The overall outcome of the trip was extremely positive and the participants had learnt a wealth of information. This trip will directly inform Rwanda's ongoing work in PES, which were highlighted as a priority action area by the government during the GDSA road show in 2015.