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Positive Incentive Measures

Technical Series No. 56

Introduction

A positive incentive measure is an economic, legal or institutional measure designed to encourage beneficial activities. Positive incentive measures include for instance incentive payments for organic farming, agricultural land set-aside schemes as well as public or grant-aided land purchases or conservation easements. Increasing interest is being given to the concept of payments for ecosystem services, and the Conference of the Parties (COP) decided at its ninth meeting to put more emphasis on, inter alia, "studies on approaches to develop markets and payment schemes for ecosystem services at local, national and international levels, their advantages as well as limitations and risks, and their potential implications for biodiversity and indigenous and local communities."

Overview of Activities by the Convention and Partners

Aichi target three of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period relates to positive incentive measures:

Target 3: By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio-economic conditions.

Work on positive incentive measures is an ongoing activity in the implementation of the programme of work on incentive measures that was adopted by COP in 2000 and reviewed in 2008. Noting the essential role of regulation and the complementary role of market-based instruments, the COP encouraged Parties and other Governments to promote the design and implementation, in all key economic sectors, of positive incentive measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that are:

  • effective,
  • transparent,
  • targeted,
  • appropriately monitored,
  • cost-efficient as well as
  • consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, and that
  • do not generate perverse incentives,

taking into account, as appropriate:

  • the range of positive incentive measures identified in the report for policy-makers of the TEEB initiative,
  • the polluter pays principle and the associated full-cost recovery principle, as well as
  • the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities.

At its ninth meeting, COP also invited Parties, other Governments and international organizations to ensure that possible actions for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries do not run counter to the objectives of the Convention, but provide benefits for forest biodiversity and, where possible, to indigenous and local communities. In order to faciliate and support implementation of this invitation, the Secretariat is publishing a bi-monthly e-Newsletter to inform CBD National Focal Points and other interested recipients about the biodiversity aspects in possible actions for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

CBD Technical Series no. 56 provides succinct lessons learned and good practices cases in promoting positive incentive measures, based on the work of an international expert workshop which took place in Paris, France, in October 2009.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme