Integrating PES and REDD in Central Asia

2011 Winner

The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) was established in accordance with the decision of the 4th Pan-European Conference held in 1998 in Aarhus (Denmark).

More information about the organisation

CAREC commenced its operations in 2001, after the Republic of Kazakhstan ratified the Agreement on Operating Conditions of the Centre as an independent, non-commercial and non-partisan organization of the international character. Founders of CAREC are Central Asian countries consisting of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan , as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Commission (EC). The CAREC headquarters are located in Almaty, Kazakhstan with country offices operate in all the five member Central Asian countries. The goals of the organisation are to: • Establish an intersectoral dialogue in Central Asia involving the donor community; • Create opportunities to attract to Central Asia the advanced knowledge, best international practices and technologies in the field of environmental management and sustainable development; • Enhance the role of the civil society in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development in Central Asia.

Project goal

- Ensure the sustainable management of the Chon-Aksuu River watershed through a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) mechanism by addressing sustainable land management by farmers and foresters in the upstream land; - Protect forests of the watershed from destruction and degradation; - Allow the development of downstream activities on a sustainable basis as a result of better water supply and; - Reduce poverty of the local population in this rural area of Kyrgyzstan due to the income of the PES, reinforced in a second step by the income generated from the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism.

Project description

By integrating the two economic tools - PES and REDD-, the project aims to create a sustainable mechanism, based on long-term contracts, to ensure the sustainable management of the Chon-Aksuu River watershed. Most of the activities in the project area are related to agriculture with two main types: cattle breeding and production of cereals/vegetables. Given the natural conditions, cattle breeding is mainly present in up-stream lands (pastures used during summer time), while horticultural production covers the downstream lands. These two activities have close links with the water resources provided by the Chon-Aksuu River: drinking water for animals on one hand and irrigation water on the other hand. The project aims to set up a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme linking upstream and downstream populations. Upstream farmers can provide ecosystem services. downstream population are beneficiaries of the ecosystem services, so they will furnish the incentive, i.e. the payment for ecosystem services. To manage the created fund, a multi-stakeholders Coordination Committee including buyers, sellers and local authorities has already been created and will ensure transparent management. At the same time, to ensure the long term sustainability of the PES mechanism, to protect additional forests of the watershed and to create new incomes, the proposed project aims to integrate the PES concept with a Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation scheme (REDD).

Country / Region

Issyk-Kul oblast, Kyrgyzstan

Information about local context

The Chon-Aksuu River watershed is situated on the North shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake, in the Issyk-Kul oblast, Kyrgyzstan. This watershed includes a large range of ecosystems like desert, steppe, mountain pas-tures and forests, due to variables conditions, from an altitude of 1600 meters on the lake’s shore to 3500 meters in the Ala-Tau mountain range.

Participation of the communities

Local communities have been involved in the planning of the project since October 2009. The project coordination committee which has been created in late 2009 includes representatives of all the villages concerned by the PES-REDD, representing their local communities’ interests. In this committee are also represented several federations and associations which represent all the important stakeholders: association of water users, association of pasture users, local forestry unit and youth associations. At the local level, the authorities of the Aiyl Okmotu (villages) will also be involved in the financial mechanism of the PES during the implementation as they will be involved into the coordination committee and broadly in all the discussions during the project.

Long term viability

After the first investment, the project will need only a limited external financial support. PES and REDD mechanisms have a long term viability by themselves and after the starting support to evaluate the value of the ES, the negotiations and workshops, the financial mechanism is sustainable, and incentives are covering new practices expenses. Once the first investment is done, these mechanisms do not need external funding as they are self-financed. Furthermore, the viability of the PES which is usually 5 years contracts is strengthened by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) implemented on forest lands for a period over 20 years.


The multi-stakeholders coordination Committee including buyers, sell-ers and local authorities will manage the created fund


The project includes capacity building components through different trainings on new practices, on PES and REDD application as effective economic tools for watershed management and on the kind of PES con-tract chosen.

Chances / Risks

Environmental risks: The new practices could have an impact less important on water than what the scientific analyses expect. → Solution: modification of the recommended land use practices in the contracts. Political risks: The PES and REDD schemes imply relations and discussions between state and non-state actors. These interests are some-times opposed concerning watershed’s resources. This could lead to tensions and conflicts. → Solution: if the success is threatened by these tensions, the com-position of the coordination will be reconsidered. Economic risks: It is possible that the amount of the Ecosystem Services is maladjusted to the financial resources of the population. → Solution: if costs appear to be too high for buyers and sellers, it is intended to organize a new negotiation round to amend the level of the incentives.

Status of project March 2011

- Planning of a five days field trip with international and national experts to do the evaluation of the value of the ecosystem services - Planning to hold a two-day workshop with the United States Forestry Service (USFS) for discussions with stakeholders about the amount and conditionality of the PES contracts and the type of payment.

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The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC)
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The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC)
Heinrich W. Wyes