I like Dr John Kazer's comments about PES in the UK very much. However, the fact that, to date, CAP farm payments for set-aside have been insufficiently monitored for the effectiveness of inputs to outputs is a reason to try harder, not a reason to abandon these types of payments.
I was surpised at a recent meeting to find that PES purists do not regard these European payment systems as proper PES at all. I don't think we will progress far if we are that picky. PES is such a messy area at the moment, with so few genuine successes, that in my view we should be considering as wide a range of models as possible and monitoring them for impact and effectiveness.
In remoter developing country contexts, we run, as we know, into many more problems. Probably top of the list are these:
PES is an economist's dream solution - put a price on what has not previously been monetised, pay for it, and all will be well. But the social complexities of the deal are still being hugely under-rated.
Links and resources:
RPE/PES in the Agricultural and Food Sectors
Payment for Ecosystem Services and Food Security
Paying farmers for environmental services
FAO website on PES
Payments for environmental services - What role in sustainable agricultural development?
Climate Change Mitigation Finance for Smallholder Agriculture
Payment Schemes for Environmental Services in Watersheds
The new generation of watershed management programmes and projects
FAO's activities on watershed management and mountains