Bolivia Nature Foundation wins CGIAR award

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Bolivia Nature Foundation and its reserch partner, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) , won one of four Innovation Marketplace Awards presented at CGIAR’s Annual General Meeeting in December 2006, in Washington DC. The award was in recognition of successful and innovative associations within the Organizations of Civil Society (OCS) and CGIAR Centers.

The associations within OCS and CGIAR can strengthen research programs through access to local and regional knowledge, as well as give voice to local stakeholders to guarantee that the research priorities improve their lives.

The association between CIFOR and Bolivia Nature Foundation began back in 2001, and revolved around a Payment for Environmental Services-like scheme known locally as “Bees for Water”, or “Reciprocal Watershed Agreements” (RWA). This scheme has generated may benefits for both the environment as well as local livelihoods. In 2001, RWA was a pioneer project in the use of compensation mechanisms for improving watershed management. Upstream property owners agree to protect forests that produce water, and in return, they receive beehives and training in beekeeping, as an alternative income source that is environmentally friendly.

The long-term, supportive relationship between Bolivia Nature Foundation and CIFOR has played a vital role in the success of the RWA schemes. Both partners benefit from sharing knowledge and resources. CIFOR brings to Bolivia Nature Foundation access to international forums on research and assists in the publication of results and design of the schemes. Nature provides CIFOR with local knowledge and facilitates relationships with actors on the ground.

CIFOR Researcher Sven Wunder sees the relationship with Bolivia Nature Foundation as “an example of the way in which associations between CGIAR and OCS can be mutually beneficial. The nature of the relationship between CIFOR and Bolivia Nature Foundation in the short and long term has made it possible to implement different phases of the project with greater thoroughness and rigor.” María Teresa Vargas, Executive Director of Bolivia Nature Foundation, agrees, saying “we realize that the closer the relationship with CIFOR, the greater our productivity.”

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