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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.

The twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties adopted milestones for implementing Aichi Biodiversity Target 3 (see Annex I of the decision) and also welcomed modalities for its effective implementation, as contained in the pertinent document.

COP 13 called upon Parties to apply measures for the implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Target 3 taking into account, as a flexible framework, the milestones adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting.

The decision also requested the Executive Secretary to compile and analyse relevant information including relevant studies from international organizations and initiatives, including an analysis of how the implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Target 3 also contributes to the implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Target 20, and to submit the compilation and analysis to the Subsidiary Body on Implementation for consideration at its second meeting. For instance, several positive incentive measures, such as, for instance, payments for ecosystem services, are also recognized as biodiversity funding mechanisms in the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its ninth meeting, as well as in the concrete and effective actions for implementing the financial targets adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting (see Annex IV of decision XII/3).

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.

CBD Technical Series no. 56 provides earlier lessons learned and good practices cases in promoting positive incentive measures.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme