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Taking stock of three years of implementation of payments for environmental services in Côte d’Ivoire

Taking stock of three years of implementation of payments for environmental services in Côte d’Ivoire

A mechanism for offering financial incentives to farmers to manage their land in ways that offer ecological benefits shows significant promise in Côte d’Ivoire, the European Union (EU) REDD Facility has found. 

The Facility has completed a detailed analysis of experience and lessons learnt of two innovative payments for environmental services (PES) pilot projects that aimed to restore forest cover in areas where cocoa is produced: the Nawa region PES pilot project, a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the chocolate manufacturer Mondelēz international; and the Mé region REDD+ project, funded by the French Development Agency.


Measurement of the basal area in the Mé REDD+ project by Romuald Vaudry, Nitidae


PES are at the heart of Côte d’Ivoire’s REDD+ and forest policies, which aim to restore and conserve the country’s forest cover up to 20% of the country’s land area. The EU REDD Facility’s analysis of three years of implementation of these pilot projects offers important lessons regarding the effectiveness, financing and sustainability of PES projects in Côte d’Ivoire.  

The Facility’s analysis finds PES an effective means to reinforce smallholder farmers’ intrinsic motivation to introduce or maintain trees in and nearby their cocoa fields. The structured and contractual framework offered by PES programmes allows technical support and monitoring of activities over time. These programmes have also shown benefits for women and young people through complementary activities, such as tree nurseries, forestry work, and support for non-timber forest products’ sectors. 

However, to function well, PES programmes require sustainable financing, and an efficient governance and organisational framework. They also require thorough mapping of land uses as a starting point, and a certain level of community organising. Development of value chains for forest products is also important to ensure profitable marketing conditions for PES beneficiaries. 

The EU REDD Facility also identified several challenges to PES activities. These include land tenure insecurity, uncertainties over timber prices and limited land availability for forest plantation. PES are only one means among others to achieve given objectives, and not an end in themselves. In some cases, the Facility has found, other types of direct incentives or measures can achieve the same or even better results. For this reason, it has also supported the drafting of a methodological guide to direct incentives for preserving, restoring and expanding forests in Côte d’Ivoire.

This resource document will guide developers of forest preservation and restoration projects, helping them to make informed decisions about how to design their PES approach.