There is discussion in the country around article 74 of the Constitution of Ecuador, which states that: “Environmental services may not be appropriated; their production, provision, use and operation shall be regulated by the State”. Norms developed to regulate environmental services may therefore allow the State to regulate not only their use but also to manage them in a centralised manner, and thus be able to access the funds and markets for reduction of emissions and carbon storage through forests.
As can be seen in the indicator on forest tenure, in the relevant laws the State guarantees the right of private ownership of forested lands and forests in the private domain, and in reality the indigenous peoples and private owners control the majority of forest territory. So, there is a contradiction in that the forests are privately owned and the environmental services, including the regulation of greenhouse gases, the collection and retention of water and the conservation of lands, may not be appropriated and their use regulated by the State. On this point there needs to be clarity regarding the expected benefits to be obtained from mechanisms such as REDD+ and how these benefits will be distributed among the forest owners. A forest register is also required, with complete information listing forest tenure, plant coverage and environmental services.
In addition, in the country there are recognised experiences such as funds for conservation rather than payment for environmental services, as is the case of the Water Protection Fund FONAG, which co-finances activities, projects and programmes for rehabilitation, conservation and maintenance of hydrological basins (see http://www.fonag.org.ec/portal/lang-es/el-fondo/acerca-del-fonag.html). Experiences like this must also contribute to clarifying the relevance or not of making a change to article 74 of Ecuador’s political constitution.
|Title||a. Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador 2008|
|Organisation||a. National Assembly|
|Date||a. 20 October 2008|