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Environmental services and market coordination: the role of local intermediary organizations in the program of payment for environmental services in Costa Rica

Le Coq J.F., Saenz-Segura F.. 2013. In : Ecological Economics and Institutional Dynamics: 10th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, 18-21 juin 2013, Lille, France. s.l. : s.n., 26 p.. International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics. 10, 2013-06-18/2013-06-21, Lille (France).

The program of Payment for Environmental Services (PESP) in Costa Rica is considered as a reference since it has been a pioneer national PES program and has been successful regarding total contracted area and the level of investment. Whereas many debates have been developed regarding its environmental efficiency and its poverty impacts, discussion on its nature are still critical and open a continuos debate on PES definitions. Although intermediary actors are important stakeholders in the PES functioning , their role has been poorly analyzed yet. Mobilizing the concept of global comodity chain, transaction cost and system of services, we analyzes the role of the local intermediary organizations (LIO) in the functioning and performance of the PESP, en particular regarding small farmers access to PESP. We show that LIO have different origins, structure, visions and objectives about the forest sector and PES program. Although they are not clearly reducing landowners' transaction costs, they are facilitating smallholders' access to the program thanks to the provision of a set of tangible and intangible services. They reduce information asymmetry in the system and enlarge the scope of PESP with alternative complementary schemes. Finally PESP appears neither as pure market coordination nor a hierarchical coordination, but a complex hybrid institution, where public private partnership is taking place between central public intermediary (FONAFIFO) and private local intermediary organizations.

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