Project

Evaluation of investments in watershed services

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) would like to review its 5-year global programme which promotes scaling up payments and investments in watershed services. Working on behalf of the SDC, EBP examined what the project has achieved so far and developed recommendations for the project’s possible continuation.

What would be the best approach to securing the sustainable use of water resources in developing countries and emerging economies? The supply of drinking water and the availability of water as a basis for agricultural and industrial activities have so far played a key role in efforts launched by the United Nations to secure sustainable development.

One important way of securing the sustainable use of water resources is to promote conservation, for instance, by investing in ecosystem services in important watershed areas. The term “ecosystem services” refers to the benefits people obtain from ecosystems, such as natural water filtration, water storage and flood control. One of the main aims of promoting payments for watershed services is to encourage private investments. Such investments in so called “green infrastructure” also support the implementation of integrated water management principles by promoting the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders and the establishment of agreements on how to balance the needs of various communities within catchment areas.

The project known as “Scaling Up Payments and Investments in Watershed Services to Address the Global Water Crisis” is designed to promote and reinforce such approaches in various regions throughout the world. The specific aim is to demonstrate the viability of programs based on payments for ecosystem services by implementing model projects in watershed areas in at least five countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. This includes the development of the necessary tools of analysis and implementation and to feed these experiences into the political dialogue at the level of regional and national governments. The project was initiated in 2012 by the Global Programme Water Initiatives (GPWI) of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and has since been implemented by the NGO Forest Trends and a range of local partners.

In its evaluation of the project, EBP compared the results achieved in the framework of the project to the initial expectations. This was then augmented by an assessment of the lessons learned and the submission of recommendations regarding the project’s continuation. In approaching its assignment, EBP analyzed the project documentation, interviewed project participants in the relevant countries, contacted experts around the world and evaluated project progress in the field in China, Ghana, Bolivia and Peru.

The Global Programme Water Initiatives explained