Many ecosystems that need to be protected in order to conserve biological diversity are located in developing countries. Conservation efforts to this end do not have secured, long term financing. Local revenues from exploiting these areas as nature reserves and wildlife parks do not cover costs. Nature protection funds are a major option for external finance, and they must satisfy the criteria of transparent finances, subsidiarity and appropriate participation of civil society.
By paying for the environmental services they use, those exploiting private and community areas have to be motivated to introduce environmentally sound and sustainable land use practices. The core idea behind this concept is that a beneficiary (e.g. a water utility) pays for the environmental services, and this fee is an incentive to conserve natural resources. At the same time, both the seller and the buyer benefit from this contractual relationship.
Matthias von Bechtholsheim
KfW Development Bank
Worldwide Fund for Nature ? WWFFrankfurt, Germany