Towards more effective governance of ecosystem services – lessons learned from Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, and Ecuador

The IUCN Environmental Law Programme has just published an Environmental Policy and Law Paper on the governance of ecosystem services, based on case studies from Cameroon, China, Costa Rica and Ecuador. (Thomas Greiber and Simone Schiele (Eds.) (2011), Governance of Ecosystem Services. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Xii + 140pp.) The aim of this publication is to suggest ways for more effective governance of ecosystem services by examining the relevant legal and institutional frameworks of selected countries, identifying the gaps that exist and making recommendations for improvement.

Book cover

 The publication defines governance of ecosystem services as the emerging processes, decisions and activities affecting ecosystems and their services to humans. In order to be effective, the authors underline the need to address fragmentation in policies, laws, institutions and programmes relating to ecosystem services and to synchronise the different instruments that exist. One example of this is spatial planning, identified as an instrument with great potential to mainstream ecosystem services into governance frameworks.

This publication was the starting point for a project implemented by the IUCN Environmental Law Programme with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ), entitled Effective Governance for the Provision of Ecosystem Services as a Means of Poverty Reduction. The research undertaken for this publication triggered the need for further legal and policy analyses on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) as effective means for the governance of ecosystem services. Click here for links to these publications.

The publication is available here. Information about receiving complimentary copies is available from IUCN ELC at

This volume adds to the series of Environmental Policy and Law Papers for which the IUCN Environmental Law Programme has become well known.

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Work area: 
Environmental Law
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