Natural infrastructure investment and implications for the nexus: A global overview

Submitted by Stavros Stagakis on June 19, 2018 - 6:05pm
Bennett G., Cassin J., Carroll N., Ecosystem Services, 2016

As deeply interlinked challenges to water, energy, and food security appear poised to accelerate in the coming decades, interest has grown in landscape-based approaches to manage water-energy-food (W-E-F) nexus risks and trade-offs. Both engineered and "natural infrastructure" approaches are needed to increase productivity and resilience in W-E-F systems and to meet pressures of a growing global population and changing climate. However, to date little information exists about the use of nature-based solutions globally, the scale of present investment, funders' motives, or observed results. This paper uses data from a global survey of watershed investments to examine the state of investment in "natural infrastructure"-based solutions for water, which can also address nexus challenges. We find that at least US $1 billion (B) flowed to watershed investment programs tackling nexus risks and trade-offs in 2013. But attention is focused largely on agricultural impacts on water and driven mainly by water service providers and the public sector. Our preliminary findings suggest that potential funders may be unaware of, or constrained in their ability to implement, nature-based strategies to address nexus-related challenges, and that current investment likely does not match the scale of risk or dependency of our W-E-F systems on healthy landscapes. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Bennett, G., Cassin, J., Carroll, N., 2016. Natural infrastructure investment and implications for the nexus: A global overview. Ecosyst. Serv. 17, 293–297. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.05.006
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