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Financing Nature-Based Infrastructure



This event will be devoted to the subject of financing natural capital and will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CEST on Friday, October 11, 2019, at International Environment House 2, Room INN, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event is part of Building Bridges Week, a collaborative endeavour among multiple organizations from the private and public sectors, as well as academia and non-governmental organizations. Building Bridges is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, at various sites throughout the city.

Municipalities and utilities are experiencing increasing levels of risks due to the repercussions of changing climates: hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, algae blooms and more. These risks, in turn, translate into higher costs, with Bluefield Research finding that the annual operating costs of U.S. water infrastructure have increased 57 per cent since 1990, with annual increases of well over 6 per cent. Operating expenditures include material prices, labour costs, maintenance costs and refurbishment costs, among others. While capital expenditure on infrastructure is also increasing, the damage caused by extreme weather is causing operating expenditures to rise at a much faster rate.

Municipalities and cities are experimenting with a host of nature-based solutions to provide more cost-effective and climate-resilient public services, including rain gardens, porous pavement, and various types of restoration approaches for parks, ponds, lakes, wetlands and mangroves. Natural ecosystems and hybrid solutions provide a range of services, such as flood protection, water storage, water purification and drainage, that often have lower capital costs and are cheaper to maintain. More importantly, they do not depreciate in financial value. In fact, the opposite is true: well-maintained ecosystems have no end-of-life and can increase in service delivery value over time.

The challenge now is how to finance nature-based solutions, which have traditionally received the bulk of their funding from public budgets and philanthropy. Can we crowd in private capital into this space? What will blended financial strategies for nature-based infrastructure look like?

Nature-based infrastructure includes hybrid grey-green solutions, as well as the restoration and maintenance of natural ecosystems that provide “infrastructure” services such as flood protection, water purification, water storage, drainage, carbon sequestration, improved energy efficiency, reduced urban air pollution and hot spots, and more.

The MAVA Foundation, IISD, Finance Watch and ION conducted a global consultation on the financing of natural capital. The event will feature a presentation and debate on the findings of this work, along with a discussion on emerging trends in blended capital for nature-based solutions.

Speakers include:

  • David Uzsoki, IISD, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Finance
  • Qendresa Rugova, Enfinit SA, Founder/Managing Director
  • Max Linsen, IISD, Associate, Climate Change and Infrastructure Consultant
  • Mostafa Mostafa, IISD, Associate, Energy Policy Consultant (moderator)

Registration is required and can be completed via the following EventBrite link.


  • October 11, 2019
  • International Environment House 2 (IEH 2), Room INN
  • Geneva, Switzerland
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