The initiative will seek to increase investment in nature-based infrastructure that can help adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The project partners highlight the increased importance of information for decision-makers regarding environmental, economic, and social impacts of infrastructure options as countries plan their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and work toward global climate change, biodiversity, and other goals and frameworks.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved a USD 2 million grant for a partnership on nature-based infrastructure. The project will seek to increase investment in nature-based infrastructure that can help adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The project, which was announced on 31 July 2020, will use financial modelling and climate change projections to establish the business case for investing in nature. The project partners report that they will provide decision-makers with comprehensive, system-wide valuations of natural assets, reflecting not only capital and operating costs, but also co-benefits from carbon sequestration, air purification, protection against water scarcity, and climate change adaptation. They will also provide cost comparisons with grey infrastructure alternatives.
Many decision-makers do not have the tools to compare green or hybrid infrastructure solutions with alternatives when making decisions about flood control, food security, coastal protection, water conservation, and wastewater treatment. The project partners highlight the increased importance of such information as countries plan their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and work toward global climate change, biodiversity, and other goals and frameworks.
The initiative is supported by the GEF-managed Special Climate Change Fund. It is co-financed by the MAVA Foundation. The implementing agency is the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will execute the initiative, which will use IISD’s modelling tool for analyzing the costs of externalities of infrastructure projects (Sustainable Asset Valuation, or SAVi). Unlike traditional financial valuations of infrastructure projects, SAVi places a financial value on economic, social, and environmental risks and shows how these risks affect the financial performance of infrastructure projects and portfolios across their life cycles.
The project will use data from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, and will include a public online database on the valuation and performance of nature-based infrastructure. The project will support the Global Commission on Adaptation’s call to scale up action on nature-based solutions for adaptation. [IISD press release]