IUCN Releases “Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the International Water Association (IWA) with contributions from the World Resources Institute released “Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus Dialogue Synthesis”, a summary report of natural infrastructure solutions at the nexus of water, food, and energy sectors. This report is part of a larger initiative by IUCN and IWA called the “Nexus Dialogue.”
The report specifically highlights the value of investing in natural infrastructure—comprised of natural areas such as wetlands, forests, and intact riparian corridors—to substitute or complement “grey” (built) infrastructure. Natural infrastructure offers a cost-effective, flexible means to achieve necessary improvements to aging water infrastructure while securing additional environmental benefits, such as flood attenuation, water purification and storage, and biodiversity protection.
Despite its cost-effectiveness and other benefits, there is currently huge underinvestment in natural infrastructure. A recent blog post by Todd Gartner and Kara Difrancesco attribute underinvestment to the fact that investors lack the information needed to evaluate and compare natural infrastructure options to traditional engineered techniques. Other roadblocks include the complexity of natural infrastructure projects compared to grey”, longer investment return horizons, and the need for multi-stakeholder involvement.
Read the Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus Dialogue Synthesis report to learn more about how natural infrastructure champions around the world are achieving water protections and resilience while laying the groundwork for more widespread investment in natural capital.