Unlocking and securing Ecological Infrastructure (EI) investments: A review of EI investment models

Mbopha, Malukhanye Steven (2019-12)

Thesis (MScConsEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Ecological Infrastructure (EI) refers to a suite of natural or semi-natural functioning ecosystems that deliver a range of essential services to humankind. Examples of EI are coastal dunes, catchments, wetlands, plant communities (fynbos), and riparian corridors. The Ecosystem Services (ES) supplied by EI are increasingly recognised as key to South Africa's sustainable development future. The term ‘Ecological infrastructure’ emerged as a metaphor to communicate the significance and the role of natural ecosystems in supplying a variety of valuable goods and services to people. Ecological Infrastructure is equally as important as built-infrastructure (for example, roads, dams, buildings) although built infrastructure tends to receive a significantly greater budget allocation for maintenance, unlike EI, which is assumed to be self-sustainable. If EI is underinvested, rapid degradation and threats such as unsustainable veld fire regimes, droughts, climate change, and invasive alien plants will persist in dominating the ecological landscape. The South African government established Natural Resources Management (NRM) programmes to encourage protection, maintenance and restoration of EI. However, the realisation that funding currently dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of EI nationwide is inadequate has led to the need to scale-up and unlock further public and private sector investments to augment ecosystem-based management interventions. The aim of this study was to improve the understanding of ‘Unlocking and Securing Ecological Infrastructure investments’ through a review of international experiences and similar models to NRM. The Systematic Literature Reviews (SLR) were conducted at a global scale to provide evidence-based policy advice, and were informed by both peer-reviewed and grey literature. The following objectives were achieved: (1) a review of the developmental needs and drivers behind decisions to invest in Ecological Infrastructure, as well as willingness of private landowners to participate and contribute to Ecological Infrastructure protection and conservation; (2) a review of policy context and institutional support mechanisms used to stimulate collaboration and cooperation between government and private landowners towards Ecological Infrastructure investment; (3) a review of successes, challenges, and failures of implementation of Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) as a conservation mechanism and; (4) drawing lessons and insights from reported cases of government and private landowner cooperation for South African Ecological Infrastructure investment policy advice. Results suggested that the need to invest is driven by the degradation of Ecological Infrastructure and the urgency to meet environmental and sustainable developmental goals. The willingness of landowners to invest and to participate is stimulated by the use of economic-based policies and compensatory mechanisms. Multi-sector collaborations, commonly known as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), through public policy support mechanisms (compensation and incentives programmes) were found to be essential institutional arrangements used to protect EI. The review of Agri-Environment Scheme investment models showed that cooperation between the public sector and private landowners through public policy results in better conservation management, particularly when ecological desires and outcomes are prioritised through monitoring and evaluation post conservation interventions. The review of PES revealed strong institutional, social, ecological and least economic/financial successes achieved in the implementation. However, challenges and failures were also experienced in different countries. In general, inclusive stakeholder engagement in PES design and implementation, coupled with effective monitoring and evaluation, results in better socio-economic and ecological delivery. While PES has a better potential to generate funding for Ecosystem Services delivery, it cannot be regarded as a replacement of traditional funding mechanisms. The study contributes to the EI investment research agenda by recommending coordinated efforts to encourage EI investment from both public and private partners. This study further improves understanding of PES design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation in order to inform policy and provide insights required to improve EI investment mechanisms. Recommendations provided will help to secure financial resources, mobilise investments and reform policies. Key lessons learnt will also provide evidence-based advice for policy development and decision-making processes which seek to protect natural ecosystems for present and future generations through Ecological Infrastructure investments. Keywords: Ecological Infrastructure investments, funding mechanisms, partnerships, Payments for Ecosystems Services, economic-based policies, Natural Resources Management, policy advice

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ekologiese Infrastruktuur (EI) is 'n natuurlike of semi-natuurlike ekosisteem wat 'n verskeidenheid van noodsaaklike dienste aan die mens bied, soos bergopvangs, vleilande, kusduine, fynbos en oewer-streek. Die ekosisteemdienste wat deur EI verskaf word, word toenemend beskou as essensieel vir Suid-Afrika se toekomstige volhoubare ontwikkeling. Die term 'ekologiese infrastruktuur' het na vore getree as 'n metafoor vir die betekenis en die waardevolle rol van natuurlike ekosisteme wat 'n verskeidenheid waardevolle goedere en dienste aan mense verskaf. Ekologiese infrastruktuur is ewe belangrik as geboude infrastruktuur (byvoorbeeld paaie, damme, geboue), hoewel geboude infrastruktuur geneig is om 'n aansienlik groter begrotingstoewysing vir opknapping te ontvang, in teenstelling met EI, wat as selfherstelbaar aanvaar word. As ekologiese infrastruktuur swak gefinansier word, bly dit agteruitgaan en bedreigings soos onvolhoubare veldbrandregimes, droogtes, klimaatverandering en indringerplante sal voortgaan om die ekologiese landskap te oorheers. Die Suid Afrikaanse regering het Natuurlike Hulpbronbestuur programme ingestel om die beskerming en herstel van EI, biodiversiteit en natuurlike hulpbronne aan te moedig. Onvoldoende befondsing vir die instandhouding en herstel van ekologiese infrastruktuur landwyd, het egter gelei tot die behoefte om beleggings deur die openbare en privaat sektor te vergroot en te ontsluit om ekosisteemgebaseerde bestuursintervensies uit te brei. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die begrip van 'Ontsluiting en Beveiliging van Ekologiese Infrastruktuur-beleggings' te verbeter deur ‘n oorsig van internasionale ervarings en soortgelyke modelle vanNatuurlike Hulpbronbestuur. ‘n Internasionale Sistematiese Literatuuroorsig van eweknie ge-evalueerde literatuur en grys literatuur is uitgevoer in die soeke na bewese beleidadvies. Die volgende doelwitte is bereik: (1) ‘n oorsig van die ontwikkelingsbehoeftes en drywers van besluite om te belê in ekologiese infrastruktuur, asook bereidwilligheid van private grondeienaars om by te dra tot die beskerming en herstelling van die ekologiese infrastruktuur, (2) ‘oorsig van beleidagtergrond en institusionele ondersteuningsmeganismes wat gebruik word om samewerking tussen regerings- en privaat grondeienaars te stimuleer vir die belegging van ekologiese infrastruktuur, (3) ‘n oorsig van suksesse, uitdagings en mislukkings van implementering van Betalings vir Ekosisteemdienste as 'n bewaringsmeganisme, en (4) om insig te kry oor samewerking tussen die aangemelde gevalle van die regering en private grondeienaarsamewerking ten opsigte van beleggingsbeleid in Suid-Afrikaanse ekologiese infrastruktuur. Die literatuuroorsig toon dat die behoefte om te belê gedryf word deur die agteruitgang van ekologiese infrastruktuur en die dringendheid om omgewings- en volhoubare ontwikkelingsdoelwitte te bereik. Die bereidwilligheid om te belê en deel te neem, word gestimuleer deur die gebruik van ekonomiese beleid en kompenserende meganismes. Multisektorale samewerking wat algemeen bekend staan as Publieke-Private Vennootskappe deur openbare beleidondersteuning meganismes, is noodsaaklik om institusionele reëlings te tref om ekologiese infrastruktuur te beskerm. Die literatuuroorsig van die Agri-Omgewingskemas se beleggingsmodele het getoon dat samewerking tussen openbare en private grondeienaars deur openbare beleid tot beter bewaringsbestuur lei, veral wanneer ekologiese begeertes prioriteit gegee word deur monitering en evaluering. Betalings vir Ekosisteemdienste resultate het verskeie institusionele, sosiale, ekonomiese/finansiële en ekologiese suksesse behaal. Uitdagings en mislukkings is ook ondervind in verskillende geografiese gebiede. Oor die algemeen, inklusiewe belanghebber betrokkenheid by Betalings vir Ekosisteemdienste-ontwerp en, implementering, tesame met effektiewe monitering en evaluering, lei tot beter sosio-ekonomiese en ekologiese lewering. Betalings vir Ekosisteemdienste het 'n beter potensiaal om befondsing vir die lewering van ekosisteemdienste te genereer, hoewel dit nie as 'n vervanging van tradisionele befondsingsmeganismes beskou kan word nie. Die studie dra by tot die EI-beleggingsnavorsingsagenda deur gekoördineerde pogings aan te beveel om EI-belegging van beide openbare en private vennote aan te moedig. Hierdie studie verbeter ook die begrip van PES se ontwerp, implementering, asook die monitering en evalueringsdinamika om die beleid in te lig en nodige insigte te lewer om beleggingsmeganismes vir ekologiese infrastruktuur te adviseer. Die studie aanbevelings sal help om finansiële hulpbronne te verseker, beleggings te mobiliseer en beleide te hervorm. Kern lesse wat geleer was uit hierdie studie sal ook bewysgebaseerde advies verskaf vir beleidsontwikkeling en besluitnemingsprosesse wat poog om natuurlike ekosisteme vir huidige en toekomstige geslagte te beskerm deur middel van ekologiese infrastruktuurbeleggings. Sleutelwoorde: Ekologiese Infrastruktuur beleggings, befondsingsmeganismes, vennootskappe, Betalings vir ekosisteme Dienste, ekonomiese beleid, Natuurlike Hulpbronbestuur, beleidsadvies

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