The 5th RSG meeting organized on 19th of November 2020, took place in a digital form using Google Meet platform. 14 participants attended the meeting: 2 representatives from ART-ER; 2 representatives from University of Ferrara as technical external assistance of the partner ART-ER, 1 representatives of Po Delta Park (Director) and 8 representatives of local stakeholders.
This meeting was focused on the presentation of final results of the survey carried out to assess the values of ecosystem services using Willingness To Pay (WTP) approach and the basic concepts for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) feasibility study that we will be considered in the Action Plan. The Po Delta Park secretary invited the representatives of stakeholders involved in tourism activities in Po Delta Park (as tourist operators and hosts) via email and phone call.
The main topics of the meeting were the presentation of final results of the survey on ecosystem services values in Po Delta water lands (presented by University of Ferrara) and the discussion with tourism stakeholders on a possible PES mechanism for biodiversity conservation ecosystem linked to tourism activities in Po Delta Park (ART-ER). The PES feasibility study is one of the activities considered in Action 2 of the Action Plan.
University of Ferrara presented the results of the citizen surveys on WTP approach for the definition of the economic value of ES. ART-ER presented how PES are linked to ES, presenting also some ongoing examples (from literature and ART-ER previous experiences) of PES mechanism. The discussion was encouraged giving some open questions on PES development in Po Delta Park: which are the main beneficiaries and suppliers involved? What are the main economic flows? How the revenues can be invested in Po Delta Park?
During the meeting, participant discussed development of PES linked to tourism activities for economic valorization of biodiversity in Po Delta Park and the main outcomes of citizen survey. Main discussion topics were the identification of main obstacles and potential in the development of a PES mechanism in Po Delta Park and questions about graphs presented by University of Ferrara regarding the WTP approach.
The debate was lively and rich of different points of view. It was highlighted that PES could be necessary and feasible, that tourists that visit Po Delta Park would not hesitate to pay an amount of money for better services, but they have to be informed on the final destination of PES revenue. Stakeholders also pointed out on a lack of coordination between Municipalities, Managing Authority and stakeholders for intervention of natural resources and a lack of local awareness about the real value of natural capital of Po Delta Park resources. Moreover, local stakeholders argued that it is necessary to better manage tourism incomes, that PES related investments would increase the whole natural capital value.
The feedback given by stakeholders was related to the the need of involvement of several actors for the development of PES feasibility study (municipalities, tourist, Park Managing Authority and tourism SH); the awareness that tour operators are interested in the presented PES mechanism; some ideas were collected on way of implementation of PES mechanism (such as economical flows, areas of applications). As tourism will be a crucial point in the development of Action Plan for Po Delta Park, local stakeholders involved in tourist sector will be strategic to collect data, feedbacks and ideas.
It was concluded that PES linked to tourism could be feasible in Po Delta Park, even if there is the need of identification of priority and need for valorization of natural resources using revenue gained from PES. ART-ER left some open questions to stakeholders about the development of PES linked to tourism. in next months and during the phase 2 they will be part of development of feasibility study.