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Economic valuations: Payments for Environmental Services

The Living Water Partnership is composed of six associations that seek to implement revenue mechanisms to feed an environmental fund dedicated solely to conservation work in the Tacaná watersheds. Through conservation projects in the middle and upper watersheds, it seeks to protect and restore the area's water resources. Through this Partnership, a payment for ecosystem services process was established in 2008 in the municipality of San Pablo, Guatemala called FOGESHIP (for “Fondo de Gestión Hídrica Participativa”), to protect and restore the area's natural resources, especially water resources. As well as a demonstration project named “Water for the Future” (Agua para el Futuro) in the Tacaná town. To date, outcomes of the work include systematization of national information on payment for ecosystem services, the preparation of a glossary of payment for ecosystem services terminology, and training for technicians in the theme. Having gone through a process of confirming its legal status in 2011, FOGESHIP is ready to begin implementation as a water fund. The scheme will be financed through an adjustment in water rates charged in urban areas, with the support of the municipal utilities.

Locally available information and knowledge

WANI facilitated grassroots mobilization further in Mexico through the establishment of the ‘virtual water resource libraries’ in the town halls of five municipalities. These provided access to up-to-date information and knowledge on water resources and the environment in the region. The libraries are used in awareness raising, educational programs for 10,000 youngsters annually and, importantly, as a means of increasing political openness over water at the municipal and State levels.

Learning and leadership through increased knowledge

Learning from the pilot projects under WANI has been incorporated into the University of San Carlos’s academic studies through 10-month internships. These programs are creating a critical mass of professionals trained in WANI concepts, approaches and practice who will eventually go into professional positions in different institutions and organizations active in the area, creating an influential feedback loop. At the national level in Guatemala, Guidelines fo the Development of Micro Watershed Management Plans have been developed and published. This guide has been promoted by the National Micro Watershed Commission and integrated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Husbandry and Food (MAGA), Presidential Coordination Executive Secretary (Secretaría de Coordinación Ejecutiva de la Presidencia-SCEP), FAO and IUCN amongst others, in academic spheres and in political and technical institutions in Guatemala. (IUCN 2012)