February 8, 2010

Marine Conservation and Katoomba

Filed under: projects, social finance — benmetz @ 1:13 am

So I find myself back in San Francisco on my way down to Palo Alto for the first Katoomba conference focused on marine based Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).  The Katoomba Group, run by the organisation Forest Trends, is an international network promoting and improving capacity related to markets and payments for PES.  Katoomba is a forum for the exchange of ideas and information about ecosystem service transactions and markets, as well as site for collaboration between practitioners on PES programmes.

PES is a fascinating topic.  On the one hand it can be viewed as a fantastic market driven mechanism designed to realise financing for communities on the front line in the fight to preserve and improve their environments.  On the other hand it can be viewed as the systematic commodification and monetisation of something that cannot be quantified so, our environment!  I’m currently agnostic in this debate but my guess is that, over the next few days, I’ll be forming a range of opinions…  We shall see!

I’m attending Katoomba thanks to Forest Trends providing bed and board and a supporter of Blue Ventures contributing a bunch of his air miles.  The objective of this trip, other than to eat my way across the Bay area, is to identify and open dialogue with organisations working at the enterprise end of PES.  If I can find and start pulling together best practice in community based marine entrepreneurship that delivers significant ecosystem benefits, such as the mariculture initiatives of Blue Ventures I blogged about a while back then the jet lag and increased carbon footprint will be worth it.


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