Investing in Natural Infrastructure as an Element of Green Economies

The development of Green Economies, as a pathway to sustainable development and poverty reduction, has been adopted as one of the two themes of the Rio +20 conference, which will precede and help frame discussions at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The Green Economy approach is founded on the principle that healthy ecosystems (wetlands, forests, floodplains, estuaries, etc.), rich in natural capital, underpin sustainable economies that are resilient to external shocks. For example, a natural wetland can yield fish to ensure food security, and water to allow for irrigation. Currently, however, the ecosystem services provided by natural infrastructure are usually overlooked in investment decisions. In response to this sub-optimal approach, the session will examine four key strategies:

1. Valuation of natural infrastructure, using the example of integrating natural infrastructure into river basin planning that is based on quantification of water-related ecosystem services and their interdependencies with built infrastructure;

2. Piloting new approaches to integrating the values of natural infrastructure into local and national development planning, taking the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) as an example of a mechanism for catalyzing innovation;

3. Strategies for encouraging investment in natural infrastructure by governments, multilateral development banks and private companies, discussing tools for considering alternate mixes of built and natural infrastructure and for identifying tradeoffs and synergies among the related, multiple social, economic and environmental objectives;

4. Policy processes for enabling change at the national and donor institution levels, translating portfolios of built and natural infrastructure into knowledge that is useful for decision making and consensus building within political-economic realities.

Workshop Programme

Welcome and opening remarks
Mark Smith, IUCN Global Water Programme

Introduction to the topic of green economies
Andrew Deutz, The Nature Conservancy

Panel - key strategies for integrating ecosystem services provided by
natural infrastructure in investment decisions

Natural infrastructure valuations
Nick Davidson for TEEB

Piloting mechanisms
Nina Marshall, CEPF

Scaling-up strategies
Valerie Hickey, WB

Policy processes,
Omer van Renterghem, DGIS

Roundtable discussions with examples of good practices and a focus on barriers to implementation of the 4 key strategies

Feedback from breakout groups

Panel reactions and plenary discussion

Closing remarks
Andrew Deutz, TNC

Geographical scope:

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