Given its substantial use and non-use values, biodiversity is essential to the viability of the Earth’s ecosystems. A key strategy for maximizing the benefits gained from natural ecosystem services is environmental resource valuation.

The Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF) hosted a workshop focusing on the draft regulation developed by HRF to establish “Payment for Ecosystem Services in the Lake Chamo Catchment” in Arba Minch City, which was held on 19 -20th of April 2023, financially supported by the GIZ-CLM. More than 80 key stakeholders attended the event, including Deputy Chief Administrators and Sector Heads of Gamo Zone and Konso Zone Administration, Special Woredas of Derashe, Burji, and Amaro, as well as six Woredas of Gamo Zone (Arba Minch Zuria, Bonke, Chencha, Dita, Gacho Baba, and Geressie), which are located within the Lake Chamo Catchment; Senior officials of Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), Nech Sar National Park, Arba Minch University, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, People, Region (SNNPR) Heads of Bureau of Culture and Tourism, Bureau of Agriculture, and Bureau of Environmental Protection.

During the event, the study conducted by HRF’s Climate Smart Conservation and Ecotourism Program (CSCET) on Willingness to Pay (WTP) for the Conservation of Ecosystem Services in the Chamo Catchment was presented to stakeholders, and an in-depth discussion was held.

Following that, the draft regulation prepared by the HRF’s CSCET program was presented by Dr. Befikadu Esayas, Senior Program Officer of the HRF, to establish the “Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Scheme in the Lake Chamo Catchment.” Following the presentation discussions were held, and the SNNPR Bureau of Culture and Tourism consented to submit the draft regulation to the regional government for ratification.

According to Dr. Alemayehu Assafa, the HRF’s Chief of the Program for Climate Smart Conservation and Ecotourism Program, this regulation would be the first of its kind in Ethiopian environmental protection history and is expected to positively contribute to the Lake Chamo Catchment, which has been experiencing severe degradation, disrupting the socio-ecological system around the lake.

Furthermore, Dr. Simon Shibru, a Senior Researcher from Arba Minch University, presented the study on “The Functionality of Watershed Users’ Cooperatives in the Lake Chamo Sub Basin: Qualitative Assessment” ‘ which was conducted in collaboration with Arba Minch University, and extensive discussion were held on the identified problems regarding already formed cooperatives. According to Dr. Alemayehu Assafa, the study’s findings are useful for strengthening existing cooperatives and ensuring a conducive atmosphere for newly established cooperatives.

Finally, discussions were held on the draft guidelines for the organization, operation, and capacity building of community watershed users’ cooperatives. The draft guideline, alongside the research, was validated during the workshop.

Hailemariam & Roman Foundation

April 2023, Arba Minch