Taking stock of the implementation of PES in Côte d’Ivoire

  • Year


  • Location

    Côte d’Ivoire

  • Partners

    Ministry of Water and Forests, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mondelēz international, Impactum, Nitidæ

  • Budget

    EUR 45 000

  • Funded by

    EU REDD Facility


The EU REDD Facility has taken stock of three years of testing the payments for environmental services (PES) mechanism in Côte d’Ivoire, which aims to help restore and conserve forest cover. Lessons learnt from pilot projects and discussions with national stakeholders led to the updating of the guidelines for project developers interested in implementing direct incentives for forest restoration.

The objective

The EU REDD Facility’s objective is to support Côte d’Ivoire in updating the implementing framework for PES-type direct incentive mechanisms. This support draws on several pilot projects developed in recent years, with the aim to help public and private stakeholders to understand and use direct incentives for forest restoration.

Since 2015, the EU REDD Facility has supported Ivorian authorities in defining and testing the PES policy, which is at the heart of its 2017 National REDD+ Strategy. To prepare PES implementation at national level, in 2015, CIRAD supported a feasibility study in Côte d’Ivoire. In 2016, the EU REDD Facility drafted a practical guide to PES, to test its modalities on-site.

Since the development of its National REDD+ Strategy and of these PES guidance documents, Côte d’Ivoire has also committed to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. It launched a new policy to restore, expand and protect forests, which has resulted in the adoption of a new Forest Code. The Code refers to the PES mechanism and so does the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Action Plan, which foresees the development of PES to restore forests.

The challenge

The National REDD+ Strategy describes the main potential characteristics of a PES approach for Côte d’Ivoire, building on the feasibility study and the practical guide for PES in Côte d’Ivoire. It identifies four potential PES implementation models for:

  • Agroforestry (planting trees in agricultural or livestock production systems)
  • Reforestation (establishing forest plantations)
  • Assisted natural regeneration
  • Forest conservation

PES contracts can be set up with individuals or communities. In the latter case, communities enter into collective agreements through a representative village institution (association, development cooperative, community development committee, etc.).

In 2017, this scheme was tested as part of the Nawa PES project. Other projects, such as the Mé REDD+ Project or those implemented under the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, have tested or are preparing to test other PES models, thus providing useful lessons.

Beyond the possible establishment of a national PES programme, public and private project developers will be able to use these models, provided that the stakeholders’ guidelines are clear and harmonised. This helps ensure the PES initiatives’ effectiveness, sustainability and follow-up.

Cocoa organic plantation in the Mé region

The approach

The EU REDD Facility analysed in detail the experience and lessons learnt from two innovative PES pilot projects. These allowed testing several PES contract models aimed at restoring forest cover in cocoa landscapes using different approaches.

  • Launched in 2017, the Nawa PES pilot project is a public-private partnership established between the Ministry in charge of Environment and the chocolate manufacturer Mondelēz International. The project is part of Mondelēz’s CocoaLife sustainability programme and aims to reduce deforestation in Mondelēz’s cocoa supply chain by establishing a PES system. The Ivorian NGO Impactum implemented the project, which tested individual and collective PES modalities for agroforestry, reforestation and forest conservation.
  • The Mé REDD+ project (2017-2020) is implemented by the NGO Nitidæ and the Permanent Executive Secretariat for REDD+. Funded by the French Development Agency under the C2D (the Debt Reduction-Development Contract), it tested an agroforestry premium for organic shade-grown cocoa farmers. Cocoa buyer Alter Eco’s carbon offset financed this premium.

In addition, the project tested another reforestation incentive approach based on a partnership with a forest operator, who bears the costs and guarantees a minimum timber purchase price for the smallholder farmers.

Results and lessons learnt


  • A detailed analysis of the Nawa and Mé PES pilot projects offers important lessons regarding the effectiveness, financing and sustainability of PES projects in Côte d’Ivoire. The analysis provided interesting feedback for projects under development and contributed to national-level reflection on the benefits of a specific legal framework for PES and their monitoring.
  • A methodological guide to direct incentives for the conservation, restoration and expansion of forests in Côte d’Ivoire was drafted for project developers. This document aims to guide developers of forest conservation and restoration projects in their implementation and whether or not to opt for direct incentives to local actors. It features the main questions to ask, required rationale, contextual elements to consider, key success factors, good practices and lessons learnt in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • A policy guidance note was prepared for the Ministry of Water and Forests and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to summarise the main lessons and considerations for developing a national programme.
  • The National Working Group on Payments for Environmental Services (GT-PSE) met twice in 2020 to discuss the analysis’ results, share other project experiences and discuss expectations regarding the development of an enabling framework for PES.

Lessons learnt

  • PES are one means among others to achieve given objectives, and not an end in themselves. In some cases, the same results can be achieved or greatly facilitated, sometimes more efficiently, by other types of direct incentives or measures, such as securing market access for agroforestry products or protecting tree ownership.
  • The analysis of these two projects has confirmed PES’ relevance in providing economic incentives to local actors and/or in covering investment costs within a structured and contractual framework with farmers, allowing technical support and monitoring of activities over time.
  • The possible establishment of a national PES programme is primarily a political decision. It involves establishing a number of key elements: sustainable financing; a conducive legal framework; a governance and institutional framework; and land tenure security.
  • A sustainable source of funding, at least in part contributed by the State, is an essential element for the development of a national PES programme. Many options can be considered, such as collecting royalties or contributions from companies in the cocoa and forestry sectors.

Tree nursery in Assawlèkro, Nawa region, Côte d’Ivoire