Experts warn of barriers to nature-based solutions

Stockholm (Sweden), Aug 31 (EFE).- Specialists in investments in nature-based solutions (NBS) – actions to improve ecosystems aimed at combating climate change and the water crisis – warn about the lack of “monitoring” as a barrier to “scale”.

A number of experts expressed their concern at the World Water Week 2022, which is taking place in Stockholm until Thursday and has brought together the public and private sector, as well as NGOs, to discuss the current challenges facing water.

In an online and in-person session dedicated to nature-based solutions as a way to mitigate global warming and increase water security in Latin America, experts identified the lack of data and monitoring of the results of NBSs as one of the main barriers to attracting investment to promote these initiatives.

Financing is the main problem raised by the FEMSA Foundation’s Ana Laura Elizondo, who regretted that, although NBSs have proven to be the most cost-effective in combating the water crisis, the investment gap is still “enormous”, given the difficulty in proving results to investors, among other factors.

All participants in the session agreed that the main obstacle is the lack of data to demonstrate to investors the positive impacts of NBSs at a financial level, although “we are going in the right direction,” according to FEMSA Foundation Director Lorena Guillé-Laris.

“We need to move from traditional philanthropy and traditional dollars to NBS,” said Guillé-Laris, who stressed the importance of “coordination and leadership,” something the region lacks, she said.

For Todd Gartner, NBS expert at the World Resources Institute, the first challenge is that “many of the projects are at an early stage” and, thus, “we have not yet figured out where the revenue streams will come from to pay for large-scale implementation.”

“We need to focus on better understanding the science and outcomes of NBS work,” Gartner told EFE, adding that it is necessary to “understand what the return on investment will look like” when deploying these actions, as “that will help us a lot in moving from theory to application.”

“A lot of people will say there is no capital willing to make NBS investments, but if you look at all the climate and natural commitments coming out of COPs like Glasgow, if you look at private sector commitments, there are literally billions of dollars on the sidelines looking for NBS projects to invest in,” he said.

However, “the return expectations of these financiers right now do not fully match what is possible to generate from these projects, so we need to bring the ecological and social expectations and the economic expectations of financiers closer to what these initiatives can deliver,” the expert said.

The speakers highlighted the role of technology and, in particular, of satellite data to check, for example, the state of aquifers before and after investing in these solutions, as well as to increase transparency for stakeholders. EFE


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