Mathew Parr, Kenya, 14 July 2014
Water and wetlands training demonstrates some of the challenges facing Africa in managing development and environment trade-offs and the vital role of ecosystem valuation for decision-making.
The Ecosystem Alliance, an international program of IUCN NL, Wetlands International and Both Ends, organized the training to provide a needed platform for their partners in Kenya and other African countries to reflect on how they could apply TEEB approaches and more importantly the need to report back and identify key allies in order to ensure a shift in how wetlands are currently valued.
Without understanding and acknowledging the value of natural resources, economic development models are fraud and suitable at best to the short term. Without a greener way of doing business, taking into account impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystems, corporate and governmental strategies are not fully future proof. A greener way of doing economics, development and business is possible and TEEB may help to accomplish this.
This TEEB for Water and Wetlands professional training workshop on “Mainstreaming the values of water and wetlands into decision-making” brought together 25 participants from Kenya to share knowledge and receive guidance on different valuation techniques and strategies in order to convince decision-makers of the value of wetlands. The training was held from 7-9 July 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya, and was designed to provide participants with a better understanding of the concepts and methodologies behind recognizing, demonstrating and assessing the importance and value of water and wetlands, using qualitative, quantitative and when appropriate monetary indicators. The training workshop drew from the main findings and recommendations of the TEEB for Water and Wetlands Report published in February 2013, and the training package developed as part of that report.
“The TEEB training was an eye-opener and a mindset-shifter by making the invisible ecosystems services provided by water and wetlands resources more visible in economics and accounting terms.” Ben Opaa (NEMA)
The workshop was organized by IUCN Netherlands and Wetlands International in close cooperation with Free University of Amsterdam, University of Nairobi, and UNEP. The funding for the workshop was provided thanks to the generous support of the Ecosystem Alliance Kenya. Participants were from a diversity of organizations like Kenya Wildlife Services Training Institute, Kenya Water Towers Authority, the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority, National Environment Management Authority, East Africa Wildlife Society, Nature Kenya, University of Nairobi and the Kenya Water Partnership.
This workshop is the third training organized to disseminate the key recommendations from the TEEB for Water and Wetlands report after a similar training organized for Asia in August 2013, in Bali, Indonesia and for Africa in Kampala, Uganda in November 2013.
The core of the training was structured under three main modules tailored to meet the specific learning objectives, namely:
- Module1 : on TEEB and its role in water and wetlands which provided an overview of the origins and objectives of the TEEB initiative since its launch in 2007, and highlighted two recent products of particular relevance, the “TEEB for Water and Wetlands” report (February 2013) and the “Guidance Manual for TEEB Country Studies” (May 2013)
- Module 2: on improving measurement and assessment of ecosystems for better governance and wise use which sought to explain the importance of measuring the benefits provided by water and wetlands, present the key indicators to do so, and explain the uses, advantages and limitations of monetary valuation towards these purposes
- Module 3: on integrating the value of water and wetlands into decision-making which presented the most important policy tools toward the wise use of wetlands, their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Participants expressed that the training:
- Resulted in an increased understanding and appreciation on TEEB as a tool for decision making and consensus building on water and wetlands management
- Provided practical means to start using TEEB-like techniques in their daily work
- Brought together like-minded people in a network that wants to continue learning from each other and share their experiences to promote TEEB to others