What does involve the payment for environmental services?
Colombia is one of the countries with greatest water reserves. The environment is not only a beautiful landscape or home of endemic species (many of them endangered). It is also a source of services that benefit all the population. Healthy ecosystems favor the regular supply of drinking water and its purification, as well as collaborating naturally with the eradication of pests, providing pollination, clean air and other values. However, this is often ignored by the parameters of the traditional economy based on market values; and the destructive action of the man is deteriorating the environment. This implies degraded environmental services that, in definitely, translates in a great economic cost, besides damages that manifest at the detriment of the quality of life of plants, animals and humans.
In this situation, in 1993 the Colombian government promoted the law 99 that ordered at the territorial entities to allocate 1% of their resources to take care of natural water reserves. However, a 2010 study by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, revealed that most of these investments have not been supporting the natural supply of water, and the instruments of control to measure the implementation of this rule were not settle out.
In 2013, in order to clarify its application, the decree 953 was sanctioned, stating that “local authorities might recognize contractually at the owners and regular holders of lands located in areas with strategic importance, supporting the conservation of ecosystems, and in consequences improving the provision of environmental services related with water resources”. In this way, municipal entities have to spend at least the 1% of their current income in environmental conservation actions, either by purchasing farms and establishing there management plans, or as compensation to farmers for an environmental land use.
In order to implement properly this instrument is fundamental a proper technical designing and socially feasibility. It is important that each municipal entity delineates, evaluate and prioritize ecosystem of its territory to protect and manage them properly, with the support of the environmental authorities.
In Ecosimple we glad of been part of this initiative. Furthermore, actually we are designing a scheme working in the municipality of Villavicencio – Meta, in coordination with Cormacarena and other local actors. Previously, we have participated in the design of a similar scheme in the jurisdiction of Corpoguavio, Chiguanos River on Guasca municipality. Newly, we are pleased of been involved in this important challenge for the country.