Final Evaluation for Payment for Watershed Services in the Chishui River Basin

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, China
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


Title Final Evaluation for Payment for Watershed Services in the Chishui River Basin
Atlas Project Number: 00079397
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, China
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 07/2019
Planned End Date: 10/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Goal
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG Target
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
Evaluation Budget(US $): 27,500
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 27,500
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Rong DAI National Consultant
Madhav Karki Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Payment for Watershed Services in the Chishui River Basin for the Conservation of Globally Significant Biodiversity
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5096
PIMS Number: 4822
Key Stakeholders:

3.1. Project Design / Formulation 3.1.1. Analysis of Project Design and Logical Results Framework:
The project identification and design was done in a sound and scientific manner. The project addressed the globally common issues of biodiversity loss such as unsustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services derived therefrom, land use conversion from forest and grasslands to agriculture for maintaining a subsistence living by farmers and forest users. This leads to a vicious cycle of ecosystem degradation, poverty and unsustainable extraction of biodiversity and other natural resources including water. The project rightly aimed to create an enabling environment which can convert the vicious cycle into virtuous cycle of increased flow of ecosystem services, improved livelihoods and sustainable use. The design team focused on conservation-compatible land use system in the biodiversity-rich Chishui River Basin in Guizhou Province, using payment for watershed services (PWS) as an incentivized mechanism to trigger change in the attitude of farmers from being unsustainable extractors to sustainable co-producers of ecosystem services – mainly purified water through their active participation in the conversion of current water and biodiversity polluting land use practice into a bio-diversity friendly land use system. The project’s objective to introduce market-oriented PWS mechanisms to complement the government-administered Eco-Compensation Programme is timely and strategic. This will increase the conservation value of the globally important biodiversity in the CRB through the application of globally accepted PES mechanism that is tailored to suit Chishui river basin’s special circumstances and local environmental and socio-economic imperatives.

Tag: Biodiversity Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management River basin management Impact Programme/Project Design Country Government


Objective-level Indicators and Targets:
The objective of the project is to operationalize a replicable PWS scheme in the Chishui River Basin to stimulate land and natural resource use systems that conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem processes. In the process, it will also improve the livelihoods of poor farming communities.

Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Impact


3.1.2. Assumptions and Risks

The project strategy, described in detail within the project document, made the following key assumptions in proposing the GEF intervention:
1. Baseline conditions in the selected areas can be extrapolated with high confidence level to other watershed areas in China and lessons learnt can be successfully disseminated.
2. Increased awareness and capacity will lead to a change in behaviour with respect to the integration of biodiversity conservation concerns into watershed management policies and practices.
3. Payment for watershed services will gradually become a national priority for China as knowledge and information is made available.

Tag: Biodiversity River basin management Global Environment Facility fund Knowledge management Risk Management Strategic Positioning Capacity Building


3.1.3. Lessons from other Relevant Projects:
The PES mechanism is of great significance for China due to its rapid economic development and risk to environment especially to its nationally and globally significant ecological assets such as the Chishui River basin ecosystems and larger Eastern Mountain Eco regions of China. This project therefore has conducted prevailing PWS cases in China and PES cases globally to draw relevant lessons to bear to the success of the PWS project. There are five aspects of lessons: a. context and background of the PES/PWS in China; b. practical application of PWS /PES outside China; c. legislative status of PWS cases in China, d. specific situation analysis of scope and potential of PWS in Guizhou province and Chishui river; and e. suggestions for incorporation in the PWS design and implementation.

Tag: Relevance Knowledge management


3.1.4. Planned Stakeholder Participation
The project focused stakeholder engagement at two levels of intervention: (i) working with national, provincial and local public institutions and agencies in order to strengthen their capacity to consolidate, expand and effectively manage the PA System and to align project activities with government’s strategic priorities; and (ii) working directly with civil society organizations, formal and informal resource users (rights holders), private landowners and individuals to strengthen collaborative relationships for participatory PWS schemes, mitigate impacts of sectoral practices, and optimize the benefits arising from project activities. During the project preparation stage, a preliminary stakeholder analysis was undertaken in order to identify key stakeholders, assess their interests in the project and define their roles and responsibilities in project implementation. This included the collection of baseline socio-economic information on the proposed pilot communities, informing them about the project have planned PWS activities and confirming their willingness to participate in demonstration activities. A full Stakeholder Involvement Plan was prepared upon project inception. The TE team examined the Stakeholder Analysis section of the Situation Analysis in the Project document which describes the major categories of stakeholders identified, and their roles envisaged in the project. These were found largely followed.

Tag: Bilateral partners Country Government


3.1.5. Replication and Scaling Approach
The replication approach of the PWS mechanism is well laid out. First the mechanism was demonstrated in Wuma sub-watershed of the CRB where the demand for ecological especially regulating services is very high i.e. success probability is likely to be realized. The plan for replicated (the TE team rather suggests to scale out as well as scale up the good practices and learning) in neighboring sub-watersheds and gradually move to the Guizhou section of the CRB. Enabling policy, legislative, regulations and guidelines are already in place for this process. In the final stage upscaling will be done in the entire CRB by implementing the already existing agreement among the three riparian provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan.

Tag: Sustainability Knowledge management Policies & Procedures


3.1.6. UNDP Comparative Advantage
The UNDP comparative advantage as the GEF implementing agency was based on their extensive experience working in China, with in-country operations, their favorable standing among national stakeholders, their collective experience in supporting GEF biodiversity projects in China and elsewhere globally, as well as their institutional expertise in leading initiatives focused on broader human development issues, such as gender mainstreaming, social inclusion, and governance. UNDP’s comparative advantage extends beyond providing management support during the implementation; the country office and regional center staff also provide technical / strategic support and timely back-stopping on key issues to the project.

Tag: Relevance Strategic Positioning UN Agencies


3.1.7. Linkages between Project and other Interventions
As pointed out in the MTR, a large number of international agencies especially the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Union (EU) and NGOs such as the WWF, IUCN, and TNC have activities in Guizhou and Chishui river basin. These organization have proven capacity and international and national experiences to provide contextual and suitable technical advice on subjects including PES/PWS, watershed management tools, regional, national and sub-national biodiversity and ecosystem regional assessment, monitoring of terrestrial, freshwater and aquatic biodiversity monitoring, community mobilization and participation, value supply chain devotement of ecosystem services, valuation of natural capital, ecosystem governance, ecosystem based climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction, eco-system based and education and awareness raising. Since the up scaling to the entire CRB will require considerable financial, technical and environmental resources and assets, multi-pronged and innovative partnerships are clearly needed

Tag: Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs International Financial Institutions


3.1.8. Management Arrangements
The PWS project has been operationalized under the national implementation modality (NIM), in line with the Standard Basic Assistance Agreement between the UNDP and the Government of China, and in line with the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) approved by both the host Govt. and UNDP.

Tag: Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Project and Programme management Country Government UN Agencies


3.2. Project Implementation 3.2.1. Adaptive Management
After delays in initiating implementation of the project, the project has managed to accelerate the progress through adaptive management. The delays as noted by the MTR were in several areas starting with finalizing the first work plan which delays the subsequent actions. The PWS scheme also took time especially in setting up a workable water service fund and getting the farmers to sign over their land use rights to one or more land management companies. Created a market-based PWS mechanism as outlined in the approved project document also took time.

Tag: Natural Resouce management Implementation Modality Project and Programme management


3.2.2. Partnership Arrangements
The project developed and implemented multi-pronged partnership as this project demanded cross-scale, cross-sector and cross-disciplinary national and international partnerships. At the central government level, the project was successful in facilitating linkages between relevant ministries. At the provincial level, different agencies of the Guizhou Provincial Government worked to together under an institutional arrangements of the sub-national Project Management Office (SPMO) housed by the Guizhou EPD. The Project Steering Committee (PSC) guided the whole arrangements resulting in mainstreaming of PWS mechanism including the eco-compensation principles and eco-labeling standards into the provincial policies, regulations and sector plans.

Tag: Ownership Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government


3.2.3. Feedback from M&E Activities used for Adaptive Management
Constructive and adaptive adjustments were made by the PSC and the Project Manager in consultation with the UNDP-CR in the management structure and process of the Project in order to implement the recommendations made by the midterm review (MTR). The PSC convened annually and provided constructive feedback to the project team.
There were a few shortcomings with respect to monitoring and evaluation, starting with the lack of critical review and adjustment of certain baselines such as forest cover change. There were a number of inconsistencies such as in the valuation of ecosystem services also in the tracking tool assessments, indicating insufficient quality control and lack of inclusive participation in the assessment process.

Tag: Effectiveness Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management


3.2.4. Project Finance The Project is making a satisfactory financial progress. The total expenditures as of Q1 2019 is
US$ 1,555,972 (with addition of Q1 expenditures of $ 16,523 based on the 2019 Q1 CDR.) At the end of March, 2019, a total amount of 1,689,448.93 USD (89%) of the GEF fund has been delivered and spent. It is estimated that by the end of the project the delivery and expenditure will be 100%. The total balance of 219,227.07 USD is due by the end of 2019. The financial delivery trend as of the end of March is also illustrated below (Figure 2):

Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources


3.2.5. Monitoring & Evaluation Overall Quality of Monitoring & Evaluation is rated as: Satisfactory Evidence is given below: Supporting evidence
The monitoring and evaluation plan was prepared professionally using the standard template for UNDP GEF-financed projects.
PIR reports contained feedback from key stakeholders and provided detailed summaries of project performance.
Constructive adjustments were made following recommendations made by the midterm review. The PSC convened regularly and provided constructive feedback to the project team.
Some of the baselines in the strategic results framework had not been validated by the time of the terminal evaluation.
There were some inconsistences in the tracking tool assessments. + + + + _ _

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Monitoring and Evaluation Bilateral partners


3.2.6. Implementing Agency (IA) and Executing Agency (EA) Execution Overall IA-EA Execution Rating: Satisfactory Table 15 Summary of Available Evidence Type of evidence
Strong involvement of major stakeholders throughout the entire project. Consistent guidance provided by senior level MEE, FECO and UNDP officials.
Highly effective project management, well-staffed PMO, SPMO, qualified CTA and service providers.
Intended outcomes have been mostly achieved, within the allocated budget.
Annual progress reports and project implementation reviews generally contain candor and transparent description of project performance.
Coordination among service providers (contractors) was found somewhat weak resulting in overlap and redundancy in some project outputs.
Some shortfalls in quality control of especially land use change in pilot demonstration watershed.
quality +
+ +
+ +  Overall, there was an excellent team work among the UNDP, FECO AND GEPD that resulted in good quality and result-based management of the project. The proactive leadership and constructive guidance provided by the PMO and SPMO helped in brokering constructive and sustainable partnership among the local communities, government agencies at all levels and private sector which is a providing a satisfactory and result based performance of the partnership.
Implementing Partner UNDP’s Role Rating: Highly Satisfactory

Tag: Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Project and Programme management Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Private Sector


Project management at the central level
The day-to-day administration of the project was carried out by a National Project Management Office (NPMO) hosted by MEE-FECO consisting of the NPD, Project Manager (PM), a Project Assistant, and other co-financed support staff as required. The project staff were recruited following UNDP and MEE/EPD recruitment procedures. The PM with the support of the Project Assistant, managed the implementation of all project activities, including: (i) preparation/updates of project work and budget plans, record keeping, accounting and quarterly and annual progress reporting; (ii) drafting of terms of reference, technical specifications and other documents as necessary; (iii) identification, proposal of project consultants to be approved by the PSC, coordination and supervision of consultants and suppliers; (iv) organization of duty travel, seminars, public outreach activities and other project events; and (v) maintaining working contacts with project partners at the central and provincial levels, including substantial time at the SPMO providing guidance, oversight and training to provincial level project staff.

Tag: Effectiveness Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management


Project Management at the Provincial and Site Levels
MEE-FECO subcontracted the component 2 to the Guizhou EPD to undertake project management at provincial and local levels. Under this arrangement, a Sub-Project Management Office (SPMO) was hosted by Guizhou EPD. The SPMO was staffed by a co-financed Provincial Project Coordinator and Provincial Project Assistant, with other co-financed support staff as required.

Tag: Project and Programme management Capacity Building


3.3. Project Results 3.3.1. Overall Results (Attainment of Objective); Overall Rating: Satisfactory

Outcome 1: Systemic and institutional framework for PWS development and management established at municipal and provincial levels for the Chishui River Basin within Guizhou Province.
Attainment of Outcome

Tag: Biodiversity Ecosystem based adaption Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management River basin management Effectiveness Partnership


3.3.2. Effectiveness: Effectiveness is rate as: Satisfactory
As described above and also demonstrated with indicators and target achievement using SMART criteria below (Table 5), the project has achieved its main objective “to operationalize a replicable PWS scheme in the Chishui River Basin to stimulate land and natural resource use systems that conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem processes in a satisfactory manner”. This achievement has been possible due to mainstreaming of the concept of eco-compensation in the policy, plan and programme of the central, provincial and local governments. A total of 6 (six) policies, regulations, or plans included eco-compensation/PWS as a tool to protect the watershed. In mainstreaming PWS mechanism, the report of the Standing Committee of Communist Part of China called for establishment of diverse and market-based eco-compensation mechanism on 18 October 2017. Three provincial governments of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan have signed a joint agreement on 1st February, 2018 to establish a trans-provincial eco-compensation mechanism along the entire Chishui River Basin. Replicating and scaling up the pilot PWS mechanism to the entire CRB and realizing the national and global biodiversity standards and indicators will take time due to the fact that 10% increase in forestry land use on the previously practiced agriculture land use will take time to provide its full service potentials. Effective monitoring and quality control will be needed to achieve the targeted land use change that restores and enhances biodiversity value in the entire Chishui River Basin (CRB). Table 16 explains the effectiveness of the objective level target and indicator delivery. 

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Policies & Procedures Country Government Technical Support


3.3.3. Relevance Relevance is rated as: Relevant Supporting Evidence:
The project is relevant from perspectives of local, provincial, national and global criteria and perspectives as shown in the table 17 below: 

The project is relevant to China’s national Eco-civilization development strategy and Eco-compensation policy. It is also relevant to GEF BD-2 and UNDAF Outcomes 1, 4 and 5. The project advances the goals of GEF BD-2: "Mainstream Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use into
Production Landscapes, Seascapes and Sectors”. It is aligned with GEF BD-2 related outcome 2.1: “Increase in sustainably managed landscapes and seascapes that integrate biodiversity conservation”, by clearly addressing the issue of currently non-sustainable agricultural land use practices of poor farmers in upstream Chishui River. The project also directly addresses BD-2 Output 2.2: “National and sub-national land use plans that incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem services valuation”.

Tag: Biodiversity Environment Policy Natural Resouce management River basin management Relevance Sustainability


3.3.4. Efficiency Efficiency is rated as: Satisfactory Supporting Evidence: Evidence
The GEF funding addressed the key barriers that were hindering the introduction of the market based payment for ecosystem or watershed services in the CRB.
The Project has been able to satisfactorily achieve the majority of intended outcomes within the allocated budget.
Provincial and local governments’ capacity was efficiently utilized and strengthened in implementation of the project.
The ear marked government fund for Chishui Watershed protection has increased from RMB50 million in 2016 to RMB100 million in both 2017 and 2018.
The timely completion of the project was not possible since the project experienced some delay and was extended by a year.

Tag: Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management Efficiency Project and Programme management


3.3.4. Country Ownership
The project has high country (national and provincial) ownership. The PWS was show cased at the 14th Conference of Party (COP14) held in Egypt in November, 2018. The PWS project also has high provincial ownership in not only in Guizhou but also in Yunnan and Sichuan as all the three provinces have agreed to upscale the PWS in the entire CRB. The strongest proof of the provincial ownership is indicated by the fact that the Government spending in Chishui River Basin environment protection has significantly increased from 2017. The ear marked government fund for Chishui Watershed protection has increased from RMB50 million in 2016 to RMB100 million in both 2017 and 2018. Also, the project is being regularly featured in annually organized Eco-Forum Global (EFG) event in the capital city of Guiyang. Last year it was presented in China-Swiss Environment related event. It also has high ownership among wide ranging stakeholders in the Wuma watershed with whom the TE team had an opportunity to interact. The Sanyuan Village Committee, the local NGO REPPA, the 4 Liquor companies led by a well know Maotai brand and an array of provincial research, academic and private sector partners especially the PSC members showed high approval and ownership of the PWS initiated work.

Tag: Ownership Country Government


3.3.5. Mainstreaming
The PWS has been mainstreamed in national, provincial and local political, economic, environmental and social agenda, policy, plans and programmes at local and national levels. 6 policies, regulations, and plans have included eco-compensation and PWS as a tool to protect the watershed. In national mainstreaming of PWS mechanism, the report of the Standing Committee of Communist Part of China called for establishment of diverse and market-based eco-compensation mechanism on 18 October 2017. The three provincial governments of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan signed a joint agreement on 1 February 2018 to establish a trans-provincial eco-compensation mechanism along the Chishui River Basin.

Tag: Environment Policy Gender Mainstreaming Policies & Procedures Capacity Building


3.3.6. Sustainability
Sustainability is understood to be the likelihood of continuity in terms of improvement in terms watershed ecosystem services – both material and non-material and the availability of increased and inclusive benefits to the local community and beyond after the funding ends. 

Tag: Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management River basin management Sustainability Capacity Building


3.3.7. Catalytic Role
The purpose of GEF funding is catalytic, providing incremental funding for delivering national and global environmental benefits. The PWS project was planned and designed to facilitate the catalytic role of GEF funds including creating enabling policy and institutional conditions at the provincial government level through mainstreaming PWS into provincial polies and plans. The GEF funding also has catalyzed China’s eco-civilization national agenda and eco-compensation policy into concrete watershed and river basin level projects. The PWS project has identified a right agenda and opportunity to design and establish a modified market based mechanism to suit the specific national situation of China. Indeed this is aligned with the accepted principal of nationally driven process which is also enshrined in GEF process. By establishing a clear and sustainable relationship between water service producers who are being nurtured as environmental stewards and buyers (the Liquor business operating in the CRB) as well as the users and beneficiaries of the regulating watershed services (naturally purified water thus saving costs), the PWS has catalyzed the latent potential of ecosystem service development, value appreciation, and capitalization by strengthening the three pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. It has achieved catalization in many aspects – public-private-community partnership; promotion of ecological protection among wide ranging stakeholders and creating evidence and good practice for scaling up the success in knowledge and capacity into policy arena and scaling out the physical watershed based land use change success in the entire Chishui River Basin connecting three provinces. This way, the PWS is also catalyzing the inter-province co-operation in biodiversity conservation in China.

Tag: Environment Policy Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Country Government


3.3.9. Impact
Most outcomes relating to positive changes in the status of the conservation targets such as endangered fish species, forest and watershed ecosystem services, and water related regulating ecosystem services have been realized albeit at the sub-watershed scale. Achieving the impact at scale of the project attributed outcomes and outputs will depend on the qualitative achievement of the outcomes and outputs which will take some time. For example the full scale of the reported 12.6 % increase in forest cover and more than 10% increase in income of the Wuma sub-watershed farmers will be measurable and verifiable after ecosystem services reach marketable stage. However, some indicators that are helpful in doing impact assessment of ecosystem service value appreciation, stability of fish population and improvement water quality are showing high likelihood of impact.

Tag: Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Impact


Outcome 2: Pilot PWS scheme(s) are demonstrated in selected sub-watersheds of the Chishui River Basin in Guizhou Province
Attainment of Outcome Satisfactory

Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management River basin management Site Conservation / Preservation Country Government


The PWS Project was designed to harness the potential role for the payment for watershed services mechanism to address large scale environmental degradation in Chishui River Basin. This was planned within the framework of China’s eco-compensation policy to implement an integrated management approach balancing conservation with economic development agenda. While PWS has been designed well, however in order to ensure its full implementation and achievement of the envisaged outcomes and impacts, a long-term trust, fairness, inclusion and transparency based relationship between buyers and sellers is necessary. While the creation of a bridging organization REPPA as a NGO can build and nurture partnership between liquor business and local community in Wuma sub-watershed but it seems to us that REPPA is working more on behalf of the Liquor companies than for the wellbeing of the local communities. We suggest that REPPA leadership is further sensitized and made aware of the brokering role of NGO in ensuring good environmental governance since Governance determine how ecosystem services contribute to good ecosystem health and human wellbeing.   


Based on the very useful and insightful interactions with the Sanuyan village Committee, the TE team feels that while the committee is functioning well and its process of decision making is satisfactory as well as gender inclusion is moderately satisfactory, the inclusion of ethnic minorities whose population is significant in CRB are not found in any structure and process of the Committee; this concern was shared with the REPPA and the PMO and we strongly recommend to design and conduct a tailored capacity building package comprising of community mobilization, awareness raising and land use training on promoting biodiversity friendly land management practices in the settlements dominated by ethnic minorities.  


Mainstreaming of PES/PWS in policies, plans and programmes across scales, sectors and disciplines: While, the PWS mechanism has been integrated into the national and provincial Eco-compensation policy and a set of regulations and guidelines are found in place and the mainstreaming agenda is well on track, mainstreaming is still not apparent at local level. Although the TE team did not meet the four concerned EPBs, but based on the review of the available documents, it appears that there is a need to consolidate and correctly use the capacity built and awareness raised in proper enforcement of the provincial and local regulations in  an effective and result oriented manner.


We noted that the Guizhou Forestry and Agriculture Department (especially Bureau of Fisheries) as well as Land Management Department do not seem to play an active role in the Project. The project design itself seems to have missed out in allocating specific roles and responsibilities to them. For example, for intensifying afforestation and reforestation work, Forest Dept. has distinct role; for ensuring right kind of fruit species and associated growing agro-technology, Agriculture Dept. can provide crucial support; and monitoring of fish biodiversity can be enhanced and future action ensured if Bureau of Fishery is given role. Land Management department can help in planning and regulating land use change in a legally and permanent manner. In future this aspects needs more attention. 


The basic premise of PWS is: ‘ecosystem service producers as protectors and buyers or service users as payers’. Since an agreement exist between the producers (Wuma watershed farmers) and water users (Moutai and other companies) and payment of compensation amount will be managed through an intermediary GEPPRD and the ground level investment on ecosystem service enhancement will be managed by the REPPA on behalf of both the `producers’ and Payers’ so that the anticipated compensation funds are invested both in improving the ecosystem service stock and flow of good quality provisioning and regulating ecosystem services as well as contributing to community wellbeing. However, TE team is concerned about the capacity of REPAA and effectiveness of the EPBs of Bijie  Chishui, Renhuai and Zunyi. We therefore recommend to continue capacity development, stakeholder engagement and most importantly enforcement of quality governance including stronger and inclusive engagement with community, enforcement of regulations, monitoring of water quality, fish biodiversity and watershed health.    


The project goal of “Contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of globally significant biodiversity in China” is an ambitious and long-term goal which is possible through a series of scaling-out (expansion or extension of existing PWS pilots at a geographic and physical scale with an increase in land areas, population, investment and number of local, provincial and central level agencies) and Scaling up by using the pilot level good practice  as evidence to influence policy and knowledge, information, lessons learned to build capacity and mobilize fund for large scale land-use intensification with tree and fruit plants and other commercial natural vegetation.

We recommend three steps in this direction: a) implement the agreement among 3 riparian provinces of Chishui River – Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan – to do policy and institutional harmonization and share lessons learned from the PWS project so that all 3 provinces have compatible institutional arrangements to implement Basin scale Payment for watershed ecosystem services; b) the Guizhou Govt. should scale out and scale up the best land use change management practices and knowledge beyond Wuma watershed to cover the entire section of the Chishui river in Guizhou province and, c) Guizhou EPD helps develop a sustainable supply chain management through community-based new standardization and sales of ecosystem goods and services in the CRB.


We note that the Project objective to “operationalize a replicable PWS scheme in the Chishui River Basin to stimulate land and natural resource use systems that conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem processes; in the process, also improve the livelihoods of poor farming communities”  is on the right path towards achievement. However, for the impact, the full realization of the two project outcomes will be necessary. Necessary institutional framework for PWS development and management has been established at municipal and provincial levels for implementing PWS mechanism.  However, the TE team feels that while the framework and the structure exist but process of actually implementing policy and enforcing compliances and regular monitoring work will need to be internalized in various layers of the provincial and local governments.


Similarly, based on the visit to the Pilot PWS scheme in Sanuyan village and assessing the quality the demonstrated land use conversion systems in the Wuma sub-watershed, we feel that the concerned farmers seem to be passive participants (wage workers) in the production of ecosystem services. However, the main essence of the outcome 2 is to have the local community as active co-producers of watershed services engaged meaningfully with the NGO REPPA and the land use experts who have been contracted to convert the current disturbed agro-ecosystem into a verdant or lush green and rich biodiversity land use system. This will be possible if the village committees in all sub-watersheds are given incentives to use their knowledge, skill and learning in an innovative and imaginative manner. We recommend to introduce a principle of `care and share’ in managing the Plum, Cherry plum, Kiwi and Orange plantations by rewarding the good performers whose plots give best quality water or has high number of biodiversity species so as to create a peer learning and replicating environment.


The Wuma sub-watershed generated clean water, green mountains, lush forest, diverse agricultural goods and cultural and aesthetic values continue need to be used and enjoyed over time and the physical sustainability of their use and replenishment needs to monitored, their impacts on local economy, social cohesion, food security, food resiliency and overall human wellbeing must also be measured, monitored and critically evaluated and good governance, inclusive wellbeing and adaptive management should be gradually improved for a balanced conservation and development.    


Local communities in Wuma and other replicating sub-watersheds will be needing training on sustainable land use change related skills covering understanding ecosystem functions, processes, trends and impacts. The facilitating and empowering organization REPPA also needs to constantly update its skills to run an inclusive land use change management programmes ensuring that marginalized people (e.g. ethnic minorities) are on board and have a voice in the PWS decision making process.


The experience gained from a social learning process in Lake Baiyangdian catchment in China (see ESPA, 2018) which was heavily polluted and degraded catchment show that building relationships and raising awareness of social-ecological dependencies among key groups of water managers. This relationship has reframed watershed management and empowered local communities as water catchment managers. Similar long-term social-ecological process dependency exist in Wuma and other sub-watershed in CRB and this dependency can be made stable by making the participation of local communities meaningful.  

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