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Department for International Development: Ecosystem Services

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Statement by the Lord President (Baroness Amos) on 13 October 2005 (Official Report, col. 488) that the Department for International Development's work also involves the development of market-based approaches to the provision of ecosystem services such as water, biodiversity and carbon, what progress they have made in the development of market-based mechanisms for the provision of ecosystem services. [HL3889]

There are four strands to DfID's work on market-based approaches for the provision of ecosystem services. The first concerns improving the supply of information on emerging markets and payments for ecosystem services. This is done through support to the ecosystems marketplace, a not-for-profit organisation, which provides timely information and guidance, such as that recently published on Voluntary Carbon Markets: A business guide to what they are and how they work. Information on the ecosystems marketplace can be found at

The second strand of work concerns markets for watershed services. A major piece of work led by the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED), and funded by DfID, has recently concluded. It has provided the main sources of evidence available on this subject, and has made major contributions to policy development and capacity building in the Caribbean, China, Bolivia, India, Indonesia and South Africa. Details of this work can be found at

The third strand relates to the clean development mechanism (CDM). The CDM was established under the Kyoto Protocol as the main market-based instrument for transferring carbon finance and technology to developing countries in support of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. DfID is working closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the African Development Bank, to fulfil the commitments under the Nairobi framework for expanding CDM investment in Africa and other less developed countries. We are working to increase the emphasis in these countries on the potential role of carbon finance in supporting sustainable development and access to energy. DfID is also working with academics and the private sector on analysis for developing the CDM further, post-2012 and the end of the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, shifting it from a project-based instrument to funding programmes generating emissions reductions in countries.

The final strand of work relates to collaborative research between DfID, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) into how to achieve sustainably managed ecosystems. This work is at the final planning stage. Four regional situation analyses are in progress for the Andes and the Amazon basin, the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, Northern India and neighbouring countries, and China.