Forest Trends / International Water Management Institute / WaterTap

Investing in Natural Infrastructure for Development at the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Monday 24 August | 14.00-15.30 | Room: FH 201
Kara DiFrancesco/ Wicked Water Solutions

Healthy ecosystems including well-functioning watersheds, floodplains, wetlands and forested hillslopes, help  filter and maintain regular flows of water essential for sustainable development and poverty alleviation across the water, energy and food nexus. Loss of this “Natural Infrastructure” can lead to higher costs for built infrastructure for water treatment and stormwater management due to increased erosion, sedimentation, and pollutants in runoff, and loss of capacity in reservoirs for drinking water and hydropower.

Although case studies demonstrate Natural Infrastructure can be cost-effective as an alternative or complement to built infrastructure, opportunities for investment are not routinely considered. Strategies are needed to cultivate leaders across sectors and provide them with tools to proactively make the case for natural infrastructure in economic development planning, recognize opportunities for cost-effective investments, and better inform infrastructure investment decisions in a developing country context where infrastructure may be lacking.

This seminar examines the role of Natural Infrastructure as a foundation for a soft, flexible and sustainable development pathway to manage risks of increased climate variability – to which built infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable. Through a marketplace format, participants are invited to share lessons from the implementation of Natural Infrastructure solutions in a developing country context.


14:00-14:05  Introduction and overview                                         

Mark Smith, IUCN

14:05- 14:20 - What are the strategies and  opportunities for taking natural infrastructure investments and implementation to scale?          

  • Maija Bertule, UNEP-DHI Partnership – Centre on Water and Environment
  • Todd Gartner, World Resources Institute
  • Jan Cassin, Forest Trends

14:20 – 14:45 - Facilitated discussion

Mark Smith, IUCN

14:45-15:00 -How can natural infrastructure effectively support water, energy and food security?         

  • Jon Grant, WaterTap
  • Eric Hoa, UNEP
  • Matthew MacCartney, IWMI

15:00-15:25 - Facilitated discussion                                                  

Katharine Cross, IWA

15:25-15:30 - Closing

Katharine Cross, IWA