The first two of the Gaborone Declaration’s three commitments encourage member countries to take action towards, “incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private policies and decision-making” and “pursuing sustainable production…while maintaining natural capital.” At the intersection of these commitments, the Secretariat is working to promote programming that moves countries towards green economies, conserves natural capital, and establishes the conditions necessary for long-term, sustainable prosperity in Africa.


Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), REDD+, and Blue Carbon

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are one of the avenues for achieving sustainable development. PES is a promising financing tool to achieving adequate compensation of ecosystem service providers, revising policies for sustainable development and ensuring the continued provision of nature’s services that are paramount for social, environmental and economic prosperity. PES also has large potential to compliment traditional Natural Resource Management (NRM). To date, the focus of PES schemes has been on three main types, namely watershed protection, carbon sequestration and storage (inclusive of Blue Carbon, REDD+), and biodiversity conservation. Africa is punctuated with noteworthy PES related interventions of its own, including some across the GDSA countries.

Effectively a carbon PES scheme, “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks” (REDD+) is a further global effort to creating financial value of forests and thereby creating incentives for developing countries to invest in low-carbon development paths. Relatedly, Blue Carbon (BC) will increase in importance in the future with the threat of rising sea levels and more extreme weather conditions. Blue Carbon initiatives focus on the protection of vulnerable coastal ecosystems, which are critical for the defense against storms and floods, prevention of shoreline erosion, regulation of coastal water quality, as habitat for various species, as well as for food security for many coastal communities.

PES, REDD+, and Blue Carbon Initiatives Across the GDSA

All of the ten GDSA member countries have undertaken sub-national or national initiatives on PES, REDD+, or Blue Carbon (occasionally in the context of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation). In many cases, these initiatives are supported or initiated by a wide range of external donors and partners. Examples include a watershed protection initiative in Gabon, carbon payments in Uganda, and biodiversity payments in Kenya. Furthermore, several countries are actively developing both sub-national and national REDD+ programs (e.g., Kenya, Tanzania) while a few countries have ongoing work in Blue Carbon.

GDSA work on PES, REDD+, and Blue Carbon Initiatives

The GDSA works to add value to existing initiatives that are working in and across the GDSA countries on this topic. Several initiatives are detailed, below:


Resourcing of efforts and technical assistance
Moving forward, the GDSA is available to provide assistance to member countries in developing and resourcing initiatives linked to PES, REDD+, and Blue Carbon. Ongoing work, currently being developed by Conservation International as pilot projects under the GDSA umbrella, include a sub-national project on PES and REDD+ in the Chyulu Hills (southern Kenya) and a PES outreach in Rwanda.


Regional Lessons Sharing across the GDSA
At the regional level, the GDSA Secretariat will aim to use its role as a convener to spread successful models of PES, REDD+, and Blue Carbon implementation in Africa through regional forums and lesson sharing. This work at the regional level may involve both online and in-person outreach, targeting both the public-sector players and the private sector investors that are key to successful PES programming. Working together with member countries and partners, the GDSA will ensure that assistance on PES will be demand-driven such that it complements existing in-country programming. Early work has included presenting at various regional forums on the link between the GDSA and PES and/or watershed management in Nairobi, Kenya and Gaborone, Botswana in 2016.




For more information, please contact:

Christina Ender
Program Manager, Payments for Ecosystem Services

Photo credits, top to bottom: Header: © Ross Hinkle; © Conservation International/Christina Ender (left); © Cristina Mittermeier