Oct 112016
 
 October 11, 2016

Duke University is supporting an innovative approach to generating knowledge in the service of society through a combined seminar course and international workshop that will explore the intricacies and outcomes of one of the most impactful and contested approaches to environmental protection of our age: payments for ecosystem services (PES).   

Based on a model of student-led learning, the spring 2017 seminar course will introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students the theory and practice of PES, as well as the ways in which this approach to environmental protection has been contested and altered. A three-day international workshop, April 10 to 12, will bring together practitioners and scholars who have been integrally involved in implementing and conducting research on six of the longest standing PES initiatives in the Global South, collaborating with each other and with a range of scholars and students of PES at Duke and beyond. Combining multidisciplinary perspectives and grounded experience, teams of practitioners, scholars and students will work together to characterize the origins and dynamics of alternative discourses of PES and the ways in which they have altered the conformations of each of these initiatives.

The outcomes of the workshop will include written policy briefs developed by each team, a journal special issue or book, and further collaborations amongst the formed network of workshop participants.

Hosted by: The Kenan Institute for Ethics

Sponsors: Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Duke Office of Global AffairsDuke University Africa Initiative, Duke Tropical Conservation Initiative, Global Brazil Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Nicholas School of the Environment

Contacts: Email Kate Abendroth or Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza with questions about the course, workshop or on the application process for both.

Cash for Green: Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Global South

Livestream option available through WebEx

  • Meeting number: 739 693 428
  • Meeting password: PES2017

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) provide financial incentives to landowners to manage ecosystems in ways that are thought to produce environmental benefits: greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation, or cleaner and greater quantities of water downstream.

Based on a neoclassical economic model of direct, voluntary transactions and promoted as more efficient and effective than government regulation, PES and other market-based approaches have dominated the discourse of multilateral lending institutions, environmental NGOs and government agencies since the 1990s. PES initiatives have since been implemented at multiple scales in countries throughout the Global South. However, few, if any, existing initiatives conform to the original model.

This live streamed, public talk will explore ways in which the conceptualization and implementation of PES has been altered by grounded political, economic and cultural context through presentations by scholars and practitioners involved in six of the longest standing programs in the Global South. Understanding these alternative conceptualizations and practices of PES is vitally important for both theorizing alternative logics of the value of nature and for the pragmatic goals of designing initiatives with positive environmental and social outcomes.

The public talk will focus on these PES initiatives:

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) provide financial incentives to landowners to manage ecosystems in ways that are thought to produce environmental benefits: greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation, or cleaner and/or greater quantities of water downstream. Based on a neoclassical economic model of direct, voluntary transactions and promoted as more efficient and effective than government regulation, PES and other “market-based” approaches have dominated the discourse of multilateral lending institutions, environmental NGOs and government agencies since the 1990s. PES initiatives have been implemented at multiple scales in countries throughout the Global South, however, few, if any, existing initiatives conform to the original model. The ways in which the conceptualization and implementation of PES has been altered by grounded political, economic and cultural context is vitally important for theorizing alternative logics of the value of nature and for the pragmatic goals of designing policies with positive environmental and social outcomes.

While some critics have rejected the concept and practice of PES outright, others have instead worked to directly contest and modify the neoclassical economic model through the development and promotion of alternative discourses. These discourses tend to make explicit the complexity of values humans can hold for healthy ecosystems, to calculate the value of ecosystem services not only based on what the prices the market will support, but on the labor and stewardship required to produce them, and the reciprocal relationship between rural producers and urban consumers of ecosystem services. These alternative discourses have, in many cases, had significant impact on the ways in which PES policies and initiatives have been designed and implemented in their countries of origin, but have been under-documented and under-explored in both the gray and academic literatures.

Structure

In order to begin to characterize the dynamics and outcomes of these alternative discourses of PES, this workshop will bring together practitioners and scholars who have been integrally involved in implementing and/or researching six of the longest standing PES initiatives in the Global South into collaboration with each other and with a diversity of scholars and students of PES at Duke University and beyond. Combining multidisciplinary perspectives and grounded experience, teams of practitioners, scholars and students organized around each case study will work together to:

Before the workshop

  • Develop initial case studies of each of the six PES initiatives. This will primarily be accomplished by the students with some input from the associated practitioners and scholars.

During and directly after the workshop

  • Collaboratively characterize the origins and substance of alternative discourses of PES related to the case study of focus and the ways in which these discourses have altered the design and implementation of the initiative and apply relevant theory to explain these dynamics.
  • Work with the larger group to bring the lessons learned from the six cases to bear on the development of a holistic understanding of the dynamics and influence of alternative discourses in PES.
  • Develop with your case study team a co-authored policy white paper and a short presentation to share your findings more broadly.

Longer term

  • Develop a journal special issue or book based on the findings at the workshop combined with some follow-up investigations.
  • Support further collaborations and cross-learning amongst the formed network of workshop participants.

Proposed Case Studies

While we are interested in exploring alternative discourses of PES broadly, the following six initiatives have been selected as the primary focus of the workshop:

 

There is no conference fee. Some funding is available to cover partial travel costs for participants who are directly associated with one of the six PES cases coming from the Global South and can be requested at the time of application. Travel costs will include flights (to/from Raleigh-Durham airport), ground travel, hotel and most meals.

Participants should plan to arrive in Durham, North Carolina by the late afternoon on Sunday, April 9 and stay through the evening of April 12. Commitment to attend the workshop for its entire duration and to contribute significantly to the development of the PES case studies is essential.

Applications must be completed by December 9, 2016.

Please click on the link below to fill out the application that best matches your status:

  1. Scholars and practitioners directly associated with one the six PES case studies 
  2. Académicos y profesionales asociados a una de las seis iniciativas de PSA (aplicación en español)

  3. General scholars of payments for ecosystem services

Timeline

Application deadline: December 9, 2016

Notification of acceptance: December 19, 2016

Deadline for confirming participation: January 20, 2017

Arrive in Durham: afternoon of Sunday, April 9, 2017

Workshop begins: morning of Monday, April 10, 2017

Workshop ends: evening of Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Final group PES case study white papers due: May 1, 2017

Alternative Discourses of Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Global South

Spring 2017

ENV 590.45S

Thursdays, 3:05-5:55pm

Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza

This innovative spring 2017 seminar course will introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students to both the theory and practice of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) as well as the various ways in which this influential approach to environmental protection has been contested and altered. The course will intersect with an international workshop on Alternative Discourses of PES in the Global South that will be held at Duke April 10-12, 2017. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with scholars and practitioners involved in researching and implementing the six PES initiatives and with scholars of PES from Duke and beyond to produce publishable policy white papers.

The course is structured as a seminar on a model of student-led learning, which means that we expect that students will both contribute to the structure of the course and participate actively in the intellectual development of the themes and topics we address. It also follows the model of case-based learning, through which students are asked to apply the theory and concepts learned in class to one of six PES case studies, articulating what they have learned about the subtle dynamics of how those theories and concepts manifest on the ground.

PES initiatives provide financial incentives to landowners to manage ecosystems in ways that are thought to produce environmental benefits: greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation, or cleaner and/or greater quantities of water downstream. Based on a neoclassical economic model of direct, voluntary transactions and promoted as more efficient and effective than government regulation, PES and other “market-based” approaches have dominated the discourse of environmental NGOs and government agencies since the 1990s. The policies and initiatives based on this model of PES have been critiqued by both academics and practitioners, grounded on both observations of their inability to achieve stated goals of environmental protection and on moral arguments regarding whose values are privileged in these schemes and ethical arguments concerning the possibilities for disenfranchisement of the poor. While some critics have rejected the concept and practice of PES outright, others have instead worked to directly contest and modify the original model through the development and promotion of alternative discourses. These discourses tend to make explicit the complexity of values humans can hold for healthy ecosystems, to calculate the value of ecosystem services not based on the prices the market will support, but on the labor and stewardship required of the rural poor to produce them, and the reciprocal relationship between rural producers and urban consumers of ecosystem services. These alternative discourses have, in many cases, had significant impact on the ways in which PES policies and initiatives have been designed and implemented in their countries of origin, but have been vastly under-documented and under-explored in both the gray and academic literatures.

Draft Syllabus: Alternative Discourses of PES Syllabus Sp 2017 REVISED

Application

This course is open to upper division undergraduate, Master’s and doctoral students. If you are interested in participating in the course, you must complete this application by SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2016. You will be notified shortly thereafter if you have been accepted.

PLEASE APPLY HERE.

Course Structure

The goal of this course is to provide students with the theory and methods that will allow them to be able to identify and articulate the conceptual models of various approaches to Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Students will also learn methods and approaches to develop case studies and to present their results in public and in writing. Equally important, students will learn to apply the theories and concepts they have learned in class in working with practitioners to translate to policy relevant implementation strategies.

The questions we will address in this course include:

  • What is discourse? How does the definition vary by discipline?
  • How would we define the various alternative discourses of PES and where do they fall on the continuum of complete rejection to slight tweaks?
  • What are the various conceptual bases for these contestations?
  • Through what mechanisms and in what arenas does the generation of alternative discourses occur?
  • In what ways have these alternative discourses influenced the manifestation of PES in these case studies?
  • How can we apply critical and other theory to understand these dynamics?

Students will work in groups to seek to answer these questions in relation to case studies of particular PES programs. The study of the theories and practice of PES and the development of the case studies will serve as preparation for then serving as leaders for the seminar series and international workshop in spring of 2017. Students will be divided at the beginning of class into groups that will be responsible for developing one of the six case studies of PES initiatives. These groups will then:

  • Conduct a literature review and write-up of the case
  • Present and discuss the case to the seminar
  • Help to organize and lead the case study development during the international workshop
  • Compile and analyze the data gathered during the workshop
  • Write a publishable policy white paper in collaboration with workshop attendees in which the theory learned during the course is applied to describe and analyze the dynamics of the case study.

Course Requirements

There will be a number of assignments throughout the course that are intended to let you implement and articulate the theories and methods we are learning in class through both written assignments and oral presentations.

Your grade in this course will be based on:

25% Case Study Literature Review (prior to workshop)

15% Case Study In-Class Presentation (prior to workshop)

20% Final Policy Presentation

30% Final Policy Brief

10% Class & International Workshop Participation