Inter-American Development Bank / Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean / FEMSA Foundation

Eye on LAC- Natural Infrastructure and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Wednesday 29 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: FH Congress Hall A
Fondos de Agua-IDB

Agriculture is the prime engine of economic growth for many Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. The region continues to be the breadbasket of the world with 23% of the arable land, 31% of water, and 23% of the globe’s forests. Fueled by China’s and India’s demand for natural resources and agricultural products, most countries in LAC are expanding their water, land, and energy footprint. These investments are putting pressure on a wide variety of ecosystems and the services they provide to cities and beyond. Sustainable development for LAC is a question mark. Looming large in the background is another challenge: climate change. Climatologists predict that 90% of the land could be distressed by extreme weather events that affect water availability for food and energy production. Thinking innovatively about the water, energy and food nexus is critical at this point. But not all is hopeless. New investments provide an opportunity to develop solutions that balance economic growth and sustainability. Natural infrastructure projects that maximize the benefits of ecosystem services must be at the core of that innovation. The session will present successful cases in the use of natural infrastructure to overcome the water, food, and energy challenges LAC faces.


9:00    Introduction by Moderator: Fernando Miralles, UMD 

9:05    Natural Infrastructure and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Thomas Crisman, USF 

9:20   The role of ecosystems and ecosystem services in food, water and energy security. Ariana Sutton-Grier, TNC 

9:30    The role of Marine Ecosystems and food systems in Central America and the Caribbean. Maya Trotz, USF  

9:40    Green Infrastructure and Water Security: A water utility perspective. Antonio Lastra, Canal de Isabel II 

9:50    Panel Discussion: The public sector approach: Challenges for mainstreaming ecoflows and environmental services into infrastructure planning

  • Ariana Sutton-Grier, TNC
  • Maya Trotz, USF
  • Alberto Mendoza, Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Antonio Lastra, Canal de Isabel II

10:20    Summary and Wrap-up by Moderator