Share Experiences in Payment for Environmental Services in San Jerónimo, Baja Verapaz

20 September 2012 | News story

On July 4-6 and 9-11 two trips for sharing experiences were made in San Jerónimo Baja Verapaz so that members of the associated municipalities groups of ADIMAM and MANCUERNA could learn about PES in San Marcos, and to officially launch the IUCN handbook on implementing PES mechanisms.

San Jerónimo, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, July 2012 (IUCN) – In coordination with IUCN and thanks to financial support from the USAID project, “Support to Policies and Regulations for Economic Growth, two field trips were organized to share experiences in Payment for Environmental Services (PES) to train participants in conceptual and methodological aspects in implementing PES mechanisms and provide information about successful experiences in certain institutions, such as the Water Fund developed by Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza, the experience implemented in Teculután, Zacapa, by WWF and that of IUCN in the municipality of San Pablo, San Marcos.

Participating in the event were several municipalities comprising Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Municipalidades del Altiplano Marquense–ADIMAM (San José Ojetenam, Sibinal and Ixchiguán), Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Cuenca del Río Naranjo–MANCUERNA (San Marcos, San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Antonio Sacatepéquez, Esquipulas Palo Gordo and Cristóbal Cucho, department of San Marcos and San Juan Ostuncalco and San Martín Sacatepéquez, department of Quetzaltenango) and the municipality of San Pablo.

These events also provided occasion to launch the IUCN handbook on implementing Payment for Environmental Services mechanisms, based on the experience of its Tacaná Project. The document has a conceptual section with information gathered from different stakeholders, and more importantly, provides a step-by-step guide on methodology and the main results obtained in the pilot sites of San Pablo and Tacaná, department of San Marcos.

Once these conceptual aspects had been presented, a trip was made to the field to learn about some of the results obtained from implementing this type of mechanism, particularly in relation to an irrigation users association (Asociación de Usuarios de Riego de San Jerónimo–AURSA). Its fees include a percentage to promote protection of water recharge zones in the microwatershed of San Jerónimo River, which provides this vital resource to AURSA, and make it possible to carry out productive activities, primarily tilapia, tomato and other vegetables.

Complementing this activity, a forum was held on PES with the participation of Michelle Melisa Martínez Kelly (Vice-Minister of Natural Resources) and the mayors of MANCUERNA and Mancomunidad del Valle (MANCOVALLE) from Baja Verapaz, finishing with a good will declaration by the mayors in these two groups of associated municipalities to support processes for the implementation of PES mechanisms.

The municipal mayor of San Antonio Sacatepéquez, Wüilian Fuentes, expressed much satisfaction with the results obtained in the department of San Marcos and indicated he will be advocating for these mechanism with MANCUERNA and with the National Association of Municipalities. He will also strengthen irrigation systems-related PES processes being carried out in his municipality.

Finally, the municipal mayor of San Pedro Sacatepéquez, Carlos Bautista, commented that he will promote implementation of this type of mechanism, mainly with users of drinking water in the urban center of his municipality, starting out by raising the awareness of inhabitants.

For more information contact:

Ottoniel Rivera Mazariegos
Technical Officer
IUCM Livelihoods and Climate Change Unit for San Marcos, Guatemala
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Tel: 00502-5966-6957 and 00502-5918-0317