Informing Payment for Hydrological Services Policy: Insights from a science-based role-play negotiation simulation workshop in the State of Veracruz, Mexico

Authors: Andres M Urcuqui B*, SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Theresa McCarty, University of New Hampshire, Catherine M Ashcraft, University of New Hampshire, Theresa L. Selfa, SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Robert Manson, Instituto Nacional de Ecología, Alex Mayer, Michigan Technological University, Kelly W. Jones, Colorado State University, Heidi Asbjornsen, University of New Hampshire
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Role-play simulation, negotiation, payment for hydrological services, policy conflict
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper we present results from a workshop on payments for hydrological services (PHS) in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Mexico’s PHS program incorporates financial and technical support from the federal government, local government, local water users, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. Based on the analysis of key informant interviews, household surveys and interviews, biophysical research on the impact of forests and other land uses on water quality, water quantity, biodiversity, and carbon storage, and a coupled natural human systems model, we developed a role-play negotiation simulation (RPS). The RPS integrates actual data into a fictionalized scenario, based on reality, in which stakeholders are asked to negotiate recommendations for the future design of the PHS program. The RPS was implemented in Xalapa, Veracruz in a workshop that brought together stakeholders from governmental institutions, nongovernmental organizations, industry, landowners receiving payments from the PHS program, and household water users who make the payments through boundary organizations. The RPS workshop was analyzed using surveys and discourse analysis of the negotiations. This paper explores: 1) policy issues raised by participants; 2) key policy conflicts identified by participants; 3) strategies participants used to negotiate these conflicts; and 4) policy innovations proposed by participants. We conclude by considering the value of science-based role-play negotiation simulations for informing PHS policy.

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