News

10.11.2011 / News - National level

Innovative financing mechanisms for nature conservation: Practice from the Danube river basin

The project “Promoting Payments for Ecosystem Services and Related Sustainable Financing Schemes in the Danube Basin”.

Maramures, by Raluca Dan

In time of highly unstable financial markets and increasingly extreme weather events, it has become evident that substantial change in the current development pattern is needed. Since mid-1980s attention has focused on innovative financing mechanisms for nature conservation, which internalize the costs of exploiting natural resources, and stimulate users to protect nature´s services (known as Ecosystem Services) they benefit from. So-called Payments for Ecosystem Services are an example of the above-mentioned instruments not yet sufficiently explored in Europe, which could serve European policies objectives through existing funding instruments.

The project “Promoting Payments for Ecosystem Services and Related Sustainable Financing Schemes in the Danube Basin” is gaining significant experience in designing mechanisms, engaging stakeholders, and proposing policy recommendations. The project is implemented by the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme (WWF DCP) with the financial support of GEF through UNEP, and of the European Commission.

Implemented between January 2010 and December 2013, the project “Promoting Payments for Ecosystem Services and Related Sustainable Financing Schemes in the Danube Basin” aims at:
- Promoting the concept of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in the Danube basin
- Encouraging related Sustainable Financing schemes (SF)
- Demonstrating how national and local-level PES/SF schemes work
- Contributing to rural development and conservation in the Lower Danube basin in Romania and Bulgaria
- Developing and sharing experience with other countries in the Danube River basin, especially Serbia and Ukraine, with other major river basins and the international community.

In particular, PES schemes are being tested in Romania (Maramures, Iezer, and Ciocanesti pilot sites) and Bulgaria (Rusenski Lom and Persina pilot sites), while lessons sharing and capacity building are delivered in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, and at international level.

This article is part of a series, which will further show concrete project results and experience from the pilot sites. For those who cannot wait until the next newsletter is published, updated information about the project can be found on the regional webpage:
 http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/black_sea_basin/danube_carpathian/our_solutions/green_economy/pes/the_danube_pes_project/ 

For specific information the project manager Maya Todorova from WWF DCP Bulgaria can be contacted directly at mtodorova(at)wwfdcp.bg.