Paying for nature and society

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Innovation in financial mechanisms to support an inclusive, sustainable transition in agriculture

Finance is a key lever for turning agriculture from a potential source of environmental harm and social inequity to a driver of conservation and social inclusiveness. The Paying for Nature and Society study provides a global review of financial innovation to support an inclusive sustainability transition in agri-food systems.

The report, developed by the SDG Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS) at the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogota, Colombia), builds on the work of many recent studies into financial instruments such as payments for ecosystem services, REDD+ and voluntary standards. The report offers recommendations for designing, implementing and evaluating new instruments to address multiple goals for the environment, productivity and inclusion.

Actions needed

  • Public and private investors who want to deliver environmental outcomes should invest sufficient resources into innovating fair and effective farm payment mechanisms that support farmers to protect and restore nature and tackle climate change in agri-food systems of the Global South.

  • Investors should work with farmers, communities and local governments to innovate and monitor payments and payment mechanisms to ensure they are practical and relevant to local conditions and to jointly address policy constraints.

  • Investors should develop credible systems to monitor investment impact and ensure no one is left behind, for example rural workers with little or no land. Badly- designed payments can make the poor poorer.

  • Governments and international development partners need to invest sufficient public finance to reach public goals, including for financial innovation, technical assistance to farmers, and fixing underlying conditions for success such as land and subsidy policy.


Read our policy brief to learn more.

IUCN World Conservation Congress

CoSAI facilitated a session on ‘Agricultural Finance as a Force for Conservation: Innovations for and from the Global South’ at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress on September 7, 2021. CoSAI presented findings from the Paying for Nature and Society study and discussed how innovation in inclusive financial instruments can be used to reward farmers and businesses for protecting and restoring nature.