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HomeCosta RicaMINAE's Proposed Changes to PES Program Spark Debate

MINAE’s Proposed Changes to PES Program Spark Debate

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) defended the changes it plans to make to the Payment for Environmental Services Program (PPSA) through the executive decree called PES 2.0. These changes seek to unify funding sources and increase the contracting capacity of forested farms in the PES program from an average of 40,000 hectares (ha) per year to 182,000 ha.

The proposed modifications would also eliminate the position of forest regent within the PPSA. This change would allow the use of external resources from the REDD+ program, which presents six policies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, according to the institution.

However, forestry experts questioned the changes proposed by MINAE in a forum organized by the National University (UNA). Xinia Brenes, representative of the Association of Foresters for Natural Resource Management (UCIFOR), indicated that eliminating the regent role would prevent adequate certification of forest permanence. Brenes shared that the changes increase the work performed by forestry professionals, leading to higher fees and, consequently, increased costs for producers.

Another contested aspect is that the amount paid per hectare for environmental services provided by the forests is reduced. The additional joint payments for the concepts of “biodiversity plus” and “importance for the water resource” would be limited to less than 5% of the possible beneficiaries.

This means a payment of 21,000 colones per hectare for about 80% of them, a decrease from the current amount of 36,823 colones, a decrease of more than 15,000 colones. Specialists also questioned the proposal to increase the minimum size of the farms from 300 to 500 ha.

The mayor and community leader of Puerto Jiménez, Enrique Segnini, said that the true protectors of the forest, who are mostly thousands of peasants working the land in limited conditions, “would be the losers with these changes.”

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