Collaboration in Peru between the Public and Private Sector: Forest Trends and the UN CEO Water Mandate

About two weeks before Katoomba Peru, about 200 representatives of the public and private sectors met as part of the UN CEO Water Mandate’s 13th Annual Working Conference.  The first day of the conference was co-sponsored by Forest Trends. The meeting was designed to spark a discussion of the challenges addressing the Rimac, bringing together stakeholders from across the region. “The large amount of stakeholders in this region make it difficult to articulate and understand the perspectives of water users,” said Roger Loyola of MINAM, “but we need to solve this problem if we are to resolve the discussion about the quality and quantity in the basin.”

The water sector in Peru. Source: Nicole Bernex, Presentation at UN CEO Water Mandate 13th Working Conference.

The water sector in Peru. Source: Nicole Bernex, Presentation at UN CEO Water Mandate 13th Working Conference.

The CEO Water Mandate’s interest in the region has grown in recent years, due to objectives focused on corporate water stewardship, Latin America’s innovation with water funds, and new environmental laws.  In addition, the Lima watershed is home to activities of many of the Mandate’s partners.  ”The Mandate has a real interest in helping all the disparate initiatives going on so that they are aligned – which goes along with one of the more global focus areas of the initiatives, which is the idea of collective action”, said Jan Cassin before the conference. “The member corporations are doing their individual water stewardship, looking at supply chains and conserving water, but they’re also really aware that managing water sustainably means engaging with other people in the water sector. This is a great opportunity to explore the impact of collective action in a particular case and strengthen it in the Rimac basin.”

The complexity of the issues in the basin make it a bigger task than one day could handle, but the meeting did accomplish several important objectives:

  • Developing a greater shared understanding of the physical context and the communities in the Rimac, and in particular the scale of water stress in the basin; and
  • Providing a comprehensive picture of activities in the basin as a foundation for identifying future areas for better collaboration and alignment.

Presentations from the meeting can be found on the CEO Water Mandate website.


A Vision for San Martin – Katoomba XX Private Meeting

After the conclusion of Katoomba XX in Lima, a small group of about 100 participants from 12 countries set off for the region of San Martin to learn about the region’s landscape approach to sustainable development.  The main message coming out of the main Katoomba convening was the importance of regional and subnational governments in spurring innovative, place-based solutions to climate change and sustainable development, and San Martin was an apt demonstration of what these solutions can look like.  Subnational leaders were well-represented among the attendees, including leaders from Madre de Dios and Loreto regions in Peru and the Acre region of Brazil.

San Martin’s vision is to become a green region. In pursuit of the vision, the region was the first in Peru to implement a public-private project of investment in watershed services that was able to secure co-financing from water users. In addition, San Martin also pioneered the design of a jurisdictional REDD model and hosts several successful REDD+ projects.

The workshop started with three field visits. One group proceeded to the Jepelacio district to learn about advances in the design of the compensation for watershed services mechanism in the Gera watershed, including visits to the hydroelectric plant and the bottled water program. The second group visited the Alto Mayo Protected Forest to learn about the experience of implementing conservation agreements.  The third group learned about eco-tourism efforts in the Alto Mayo Wetlands – Santa Elena sector.

The more formal section of the meeting featured four thematic panels on the following topics:

  1. Value Chains and Ecosystem Services
  2. Innovative Mechanisms for Sustainability in the Amazon
  3. Financing Systems and Resource Mobilization
  4. Public Policy and Sustainable Territorial Development in the Amazon

Each panel convened experts to discuss and provide recommendations for further steps in San Martin and other Amazonian regions considering moving towards a more integrated model of sustainable development.

A final summary of the meeting and outcomes will be available soon.


Programa Katoomba San Martín FINAL-en

Private Meeting Participants


Katoomba Peru Wrap-Up

1-Francois speaking - opening panel

Francois Munger speaking at the opening plenary.

On April 22nd and 23rd, 617 professionals from 20 countries converged on Lima, Peru for Katoomba XX. As Peru starts to prepare to host the COP 20 this fall, conference attendees began to explore ways to ensure that the development of Tropical America continues to allow forests and other ecosystems to contribute to a stable climate and resilient societies.  Throughout the discussions, one theme emerged: As the world continues to address the problem of climate change, successful approaches are going to be bottom-up, with innovation and collaboration happening across sectors and tailored to regional realities.  Taking a one-size-fits-all approach, as in Kyoto, has proven to be unsuccessful.

2-Socio-ecological linkages - panel with Tundi Agardy and Miguel Saravia from water initiative family (Dan Nepstad speaking)

The socio-ecological linkage panel included Tundi Agardy and Miguel Saravia from the Water Initiative Family. Dan Nepstad of the Earth Innovation Institute is speaking.

Day One of the convening focused on how to find the alignment between policy, development, and interest, starting with Peruvian government leaders discussing their vision for the country and region.  The panels for the rest of the day elaborated on the complex linkages that exist between water, climate, forests, and people in the region and how our understanding of the socio-ecological linkage must also begin to be addressed in our policy development.  Day Two dove more into the details of coordinating policies across regions and sectors, examining how s

ubnational and regional strategies can be coordinated and encouraged by national goals. Moving to a higher level, the last panel of the day addressed the need for climate finance to be invested as part of a strategic and well-coordinated strategy for development, rather than as an ad hoc investment.

3-Closing panel 'team' (1)

The closing panel.

The Water Initiative family was well represented in the audience and on the stage during the conference. Speakers included:

  • Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of Environment

  • Javier Ocampo, Regional President, San Martin

  • François Munger, Head of the Global Water Initiative, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

  • Miguel Saravia, Executive Director, CONDESAN,

  • Michael Jenkins, President, Forest Trends

  • Tundi Agardy, Director, Marine Ecosystem Services Program, Forest Trends

  • Francisco Dumler, Secretary General, National Water Authority

  • Jason Morrison, Technical Director, UN CEO Water Mandate

  • Fernando Momiy, President of the Board, National Sanitation Service Superintendence of Peru (SUNASS)

  • Carlos Muñoz Piña, former Head, Environmental Economics and Public Policy Research Division, Instituto Nacional de Ecologia of Mexico (INE)

  • Karina Pinasco, Director, Amazonicos por la Amazonia

  • Christo Marais, Chief Director, Natural Resources Programmes, Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa

  • Roger Loyola, General Director of Valuation and Evaluation for the Financing of Natural Heritage, Ministry of Environment of Peru.

Final agendas from the conference can be downloaded here: Katoomba Final Agenda: English and Katoomba Final Agenda – Spanish. An event summary, as well as videos from the conference, will be available on the conference website soon.




Building Knowledge & Capacity in Phase 2

The successes and failures  of the demonstration projects during Phase 1 played an integral role in formulating the Phase 2 proposal. In particular, the work in the second leg of our tripod of scaling up watershed services (Building Knowledge and Capacity) will try to capture and expand on these lessons learned to drive the analytical work developed. The practical experience of the demonstration projects will drive the development of analytical products to support decision makers (both within and outside out demonstration projects) to make informed decisions about IWS in their sector.  The knowledge developed through these projects will thus help to support the third leg of the tripod: Engaging Leaders in the Water Sector.


The evolution of our approach to scaling up investments in watershed services.

The evolution of our approach to scaling up investments in watershed services.

Models for Scaling IWS

Based on place, context, and feasibility, each of the demonstration projects takes a slightly different approach for scaling up IWS, from reciprocal agreements in Bolivia to large-scale eco-compensation projects in China to establishment of water funds in Peru.  The difficulty with IWS projects is that they tend to be context dependent: what works in one country, basin, or watershed may not be transferrable to another country, basin, or watershed.  Despite this, one of the main tenets of the Scaling Up project is that there are some key lessons and models that can be applied (with appropriate tweaks) in different contexts.One of the first steps in identifying these potential projects the peer review of our demonstration projects, which will happen over the next two years.

Although the plan has not been finalized, the likely focus for this year will be an exploration of the questions that we need to ask about scaling up and the criteria that we use to evaluate models. This work will be done in association with our network of practitioners and experts. The goal of this exploratory work will be to fully scope out the assessment approach that we’ll use in actually evaluating the success of each of the demonstration projects.  This scoping process will involve the demonstration project partners as well as non-Forest Trends members of our community of practice.  Depending on the timeframe, the demonstration projects may begin a self-assessment process of their scaling up models.   This work will be the basis for the peer review process in the following years.

Footprinting, Standards, and Certification

Your Water Footprint | VOICEMaking sense of the many water footprinting standards and certifications is another piece of the puzzle.  Genevieve Bennett has been working on the first step in this process: a scoping exercise looking at the current state of practices on standards and certifications, especially for those that include watershed management or could be used for watershed management. Some of the standards are focused just on water, while come include water within broader systems.  While we eventually hope to look at some of the issues with implementing standards in the context of IWS practices, the initial focus is mainly to develop a body of knowledge around the emerging standards.

The Water Initiative is taking two concrete steps into this sector.  In Bolivia, work has already begun on water footprinting studies to inform the pricing of water-related surcharges on purchases of key agricultural commodities from the Santa Cruz valley. At the international level, we have started some discussion with the Gold Standard to investigate opportunities for working together. In the first step towards this potential participation, the Water Initiative will participate in the annual meeting, helping to shape ideas around how integrating green and gray infrastructure can be implemented as their standards continue to develop.

Integration of multiple systems is something that many standards struggle with. It’s hard to deal with multiple benefits – biodiversity, climate change, water, forests, etc. – because sometimes a positive step for one can be a negative step for the other. – Jan Cassin, Director

Cost Curves in the Rimac


Are natural and green infrastructure interventions really able to deliver the benefits they promise for a lower cost? The emerging work developing a cost curve analysis for a number of interventions in the Rimac watershed will continue into the new year.  In November, a workshop attended by Aquafondo, CONDESAN, and representatives from Kieser & Associates worked to revise the conceptual framework for the cost curves project.  During the workshop, much of the emphasis was put on walking through an example case, identifying areas of uncertainty, and confirming technology – getting everyone on the same page.  Since the workshop, the staff at Kieser & Associates has continued to work on and refine the methodology. An important addition to this work was a recent joint meeting between Aquafondo and ANA (Autoridad Nacional del Agua). In the meeting, Aquafondo and ANA addressed what they see as important metrics and parameters to include in the study and make it most relevant to their needs.

I’ve had my eye out for people doing economic analyses of IWS and it really seems that we’re leading the charge on this. TNC has done a little bit of work, but no one else is really pushing hard to consider all of the challenges and intricacies of natural and green infrastructure interventions. – Genevieve Bennett, Senior Associate



Natural Infrastructure and Investments in Watershed Services Entering the Mainstream

As with any project, the end of a grant period offers the opportunity to assess the progress made and the way to continue moving forward in the next phase.  Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jan Cassin, Director of the Water Initiative, and discuss the changes that have gone on in the water arena over the past two years and the prospects for natural and green infrastructure approaches in the years to come.

First of all, congratulations are in order for getting approval for Phase 2 of the project.  The Phase 2 process 111011129_f63ef2f2ed_bwas quite intensive, and I know that the proposal framework in some ways changed quite a bit from the Phase 1 activities. What was some of the major feedback that this project got based on the peer review of Phase 1?

The thing that came out most strongly was that the excitement is building about the potential for mechanisms like IWS to really change the way we manage water. The idea of using natural infrastructure or green infrastructure has been around for a long time, but now the concept is starting to enter the mainstream. The idea is generating a lot of excitement now, because more people understand the importance of managing water more sustainably and the role that natural and green infrastructure can play in that.

Why do you think this change in focus is coming about?

To an extent, the public sector and the nonprofit sector have been working along these lines for quite a while, but in the last few years, the private sector and the development sector are gaining awareness of the importance of managing water at an ecosystem level, rather than a more focused approach on pipes and managing within factories or communities.  That’s one of the things that’s been really nice about working with the Swiss – they’ve been at the forefront of some of these issues.

How so?

cc04The Swiss are very focused on water and the sustainability agenda. They approach the issue holistically in the context of sustainable development – for both people and ecosystems.  In some ways, we are trying to shift the paradigm of water management and it’s been exciting, especially in the last few years, to see our partners get intrigued about the possibilities offered by investments in watershed services and continue their support of our project.

Do you think that this paradigm shift towards green and natural infrastructure is happening throughout the water sector?

I really do think that it’s starting to permeate the entire water sector. Last year at World Water Week, there were quite a few presentations on natural infrastructure, integrating gray and green infrastructure, and the role of nature-based solutions to support the water-food-energy nexus. The interest just seems to be growing, with a number of conferences incorporating these themes. The group that’s planning the 7th World Water Forum includes a number of people at the center of the NI approach to water management.

Many IWS projects struggle with finding long-term partners to pay for the ecosystem services being providers. Increasing partnerships with potential payers from the private sector is a target area for Phase 2. How are we moving forward on that front?

The collaboration that we’ve started with the CEO Water Mandate has been really exciting.  We’re actually working together with them to host a meeting in April (a few weeks before Katoomba Peru). It’s part of their own annual meeting, but we will be coming in to talk about how IWS can play a role in the corporate water stewardship initiatives that they promote.

Forest Trends - Welcome to the Forest Trends Homepage

How will this meeting fit into Katoomba Peru?

The CEO Water Mandate is very interested in our work in Latin America, especially with the environmental laws, water funds, and investments in watershed services projects.  The organization is interested in engaging there, taking advantage of what we’re doing and then strengthening their own efforts.

Does the CEO Water Mandate or its constituent organizations have a particular interest in Peru?

A number of companies are active in the Lima watershed, including the Rimac, so they are particularly interested in the water fund that is being developed by Aquafondo, as well as the initiatives that are going on elsewhere in the basin.  These organizations have a significant interest in making sure that the disparate initiatives are aligned, that everyone is working together.  Greater alignment between initiatives obviously makes it easier for corporations, but it’s also part of the global focus areas of the Mandate, which is promoting collective action.

Collective action for managing water?

Yes. While constituent organizations are doing their individual water stewardship, looking at the water use within their supply chains and operations and figuring out how to reduce water usage, there is also an awareness that sustainable water management means engaging with other people in the watershed as well. This meeting in April is a great opportunity to explore a particular case where we can examine the impact of collective action and then how we can strengthen the management approaches within the Rimac basin.

Both the Swiss and the CEO Water Mandate have also been active in promoting and proposing water-specific ICSU paper on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) published by Naturegoals for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.  Will the SDGs be an important point of discussion at Katoomba Peru and the earlier meeting?

Definitely.  One of the themes of the Katoomba Peru is aligning policy in a number of different areas (forests, water, agriculture) in order to promote sustainable development. The Water Mandate is very interested in thinking about how the broader international establishment of these goals will trickle down and influence how water is managed on the ground.  A lot of the discussion during the April 9th meeting will be about what the proposed goals would look like on the ground in the Rimac.  There is a desire for the goals to be actionable and written in a way that moves the development community forward.


Water Initiative Team Profile: Michael Bennett

Michael BennettEstimated to be the 42nd most influential author in the field of environmental and ecological economics for 2000- 2009 (Hoepner et al., 2012), Michael Bennett has been working for Forest Trends since 2006.  One of the many hats Michael wears for Forest Trends is leading payments for watershed services work in China, including an integral role in the development of the PWS pilot for the Miyun Reservoir watershed.

Have you always been interested in China and its environmental challenges?

Not initially. While traveling in Europe as an undergraduate, I found that I really enjoyed traveling and being in other countries and promptly decided that I was going to be fluent in another language.  I narrowed it down to Spanish or Chinese. My first Chinese teacher was absolutely fantastic, which was so important in me continuing.  After I graduated, I went to Taiwan instead of mainland China, because it was easier at the time. In Taiwan, you could live with Chinese students (which I wanted to do), and you couldn’t do that in China back then.

Where did the interest in environmental economics come from?

During my time in Taiwan, I was able to do some traveling in mainland China where I saw the challenges that the region faced. That drove my interest in environmental economics, so I came back to America to go to graduate school, hoping that eventually I would be able to come back to China and put the knowledge to use. I’ve been very fortunate to have found my pathway back.

You did your M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Did your dissertation work examine Chinese environmental problems?

Not at all! My graduate program was very quantitative – focused more on learning the tools of economics than on a specific topic.  My dissertation was on recreational angling in Lake Michigan. It relates back to PES in a way – it was very theoretical and focused on how to identify and disentangle the cognitive biases that influence how people value environmental goods and services.

So how did this work lead you back to China?

Chinese WomanI got a postdoctoral research position at the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to work with Xu Jin Tao’s forestry sector research, which was mostly focused on the sloping land conversion program.  The state forestry sector survey I was supposed to help with took longer to get started than planned, so Jintao asked me if I wanted to collaborate on a paper based on some work that had already been done about the sloping land conversion project.  He gave me some data, but it was only part of the data set. I had to search all over the new office for the original survey booklets, relabel them, and get the entire data set going.  I just found this program so incredibly amazing – and it was a program that many of the other Chinese researchers didn’t consider particularly interesting. That got me started, and eventually led to my work at Forest Trends.

Tell me a little bit about the sloping land conversion program.

It’s basically the world’s largest program to retire agricultural land and convert it into forests. Jintao and I ended up publishing a number of papers on that program. It also is the reason I got this ranking as 42nd most influential author in environmental/ecological economics.  I wrote a paper explaining the program in detail for a special edition of Ecological Economics and it has since become the paper that anyone writing about this program generally cites for background.  The thing that’s really amazing about China is that if you look closely enough in any sector, you invariably come across “the largest blank in the world”. China has the world’s largest afforestation PES program, the largest biogas program, etc.. Due to its size, just about anything is going to be the largest.  All these programs mean that China has so much of its own experience that it can share with the world – I’m a big cheerleader for China’s increased integration with the rest of the world so that it can share some of the lessons it’s learned from the many mini-laboratories across the country.

In addition to working with the Water Initiative, you do other things for Forest Trends. Can you tell me a little bit about your day-to-day work for FT?

I wear multiple hats – sometimes I’m an expert consultant, sometimes a project manager, and sometimes a strategic advisor.  Right now, I’m doing some data analysis with the rural socio-economic survey for the Miyun project, but I also spend a lot of time building relationships and working with our local partners like the Beijing Parks and Forestry Department.  The inter-governmental relationships are very complicated in China, so I do a lot of listening when I’m talking with potential stakeholders, always trying to improve my understanding of what’s going on.  Another initiative that we are on the cusp of getting started on is a regional Green Growth and Eco-Compensation Knowledge Hub. This work is initiated and supported by the Asian Development Bank. I will begin to work with Nathaniel Carroll, Genevieve Bennett (no relation), and a network of local experts to set this up. It will be an explicit collaboration between the Asian Development Bank, China Agricultural University, and Forest Trends, as well as other organizations. This is the fruition of the original report I did for Forest Trends on eco-compensation programs in China. There’s a lot more work that is being done than has yet to be properly documented.  Governments across China need to share lessons learned, and we hope that the Hub will encourage this sharing, as well as create ways to share China’s experience with the rest of the developing world – - some South-South exchange is needed.

What do you find the most challenging about working in the PES field?

As an economist, I recognize the value of markets. They are a powerful instrument for aggregating complex information across large networks of buyers and sellers. They provide signals, create information, create an understanding of the context, and also distribute resources efficiently. However, when it comes to environmental goods, markets don’t do a good job of this.  While the fundamental goal of economics is to utilize limited resources to maximize the welfare and happiness of society. Traditional economics has actually failed to do this, by failing to fully appreciate and value the important inputs to production provided by environment goods and services; for most of the history of economics, we have generally treated environmental inputs as unlimited and free. We’re only slowly coming around to more fully incorporating the value of ecosystems into our economics systems.

Will revamped conceptions of markets eventually be able to include the value of all ecosystems?CHinese fishers

Some conservation is always going to require command and control, but I think that there is a lot that can be amenable to market mechanisms. The biggest challenge with creating appropriate markets is that we still have a lot of gaps in scientific understanding.  There are so many complex dimensions that are both spatial and temporal in nature. When you’re doing this work to try to lobby for and create these types of systems, it’s a bit of a conundrum because you are trying to create a well-functioning market system based on limited understanding and data, but having such a system in place also provides the benefit of generating more data and thus improving understanding and awareness, which will improve its functionality. Chicken-and-Egg.  You’re basically standing on this difficult tightrope where you are creating systems that are well-grounded and are logical, but can also be adapted to the fact that we still don’t know everything about ecological functionality. It’s a huge challenge.

We’ve spent the whole interview talking about your life as an environmental economist. What else should we know about you?

When I was in Taiwan studying Chinese, I was a professional jazz drummer. I had played drums throughout high school and college. I played in the jazz band in high school and then an afro-pop band in college.  Then when I was in Taiwan I started playing with this alternative band, then I got some gigs, and eventually it just took off. The group was called the Jazz Cowboys – we even have a CD out there somewhere. Unfortunately, I don’t have any time for drumming now. I’d like to get back into playing some gigs here in Beijing.  I’ve made it a resolution this year to get back to playing at least a bit.

Selected Publications


Swiss Vision for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

At the turn of the century, 189 United Nations member states and 23 international organizations committed to a fifteen year challenge to focus on eradicating poverty throughout the world. These targets became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  Progress towards the MDGs has been substantial, with many of the targets achieved ahead of schedule, yet challenges still remain. As we move into the post-2015 era (meaning past the deadline of the MDGs), the challenge of eradicating poverty remains, yet the consensus has shifted to ensuring sustainable development. As the international community has begun the debate about what these sustainable development goals (SDGs) should look like, one debate has focused on the centrality of water in the context of development – and how water’s central role should be represented in the new goals.

Water and the Millennium Development Goals

Image Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

Image Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

To halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is the water-related MDG.  This focus on water and sanitation has driven much of the water-related funding in the last decade, with organizations from the Gates Foundation to the Coca-Cola Foundation contributing large sums of money towards providing basic water supplies to communities in need across the developing world. Despite significant progress towards meeting these goals, criticisms from the water sector abound. First, the focus on water for human use ignores the primary role that water plays in supporting ecosystems and environments. Second, the focus on drinking water downplays the importance of water for other uses, from agriculture to preventing the spread of disease to supporting energy production.  Third, as a cross-boundary, interlinked resource, water is, in a sense, integral to the entire idea of development, and its importance is somewhat under-recognized in the MDGs. Fourth, progress towards the goals has been uneven and many people throughout the world still lack access to drinking water and basic sanitation. According to the 2013 UN MDG Progress Report, in 2011, 768 million people still only had access to an unimproved water source; 83% of those people live in rural areas. Even for those with access to improved sources, the quality of that water may be questionable and the water supply may not be conveniently located, requiring long queues at water public water points. In order to meet the sanitation target, 1 billion more people must gain access to a latrine, flush toilet, or other improved sanitation facility. The regions with the most need for improvement: Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania.

Source: Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2013.

Source: Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2013.

Moving Forward with the Sustainable Development Goals

The importance of water in the new development agenda is undeniable. The major argument in the debate is how water should be represented. Should the importance of water be woven throughout each of the goals, with specific water-related targets represented in each sector? Or should the primacy of water be recognized by awarding it an entire sustainable development goal of its own?

The Swiss Vision for a Water Goal

“A Water-Secure World for All” is the title of the Swiss proposed SDG for water.  Why a water-focused goal? From the point of view of the Swiss proposal, water is the cornerstone of sustainable development and is inextricably linked with peace and security.  Lack of water doesn’t just cause water crises, it can cause security crises, food crises, and health crises. In addition, insecurity of the water supply can hold back economic development, generate economic and political instability, and inflame existing regional tensions.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Recognizing that considerable work still needs to be done to achieve the goal of universal access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services, the Swiss propose retaining a WASH focus.

By 2025, no one practices open defecation (inequalities in the practice of open defecation have been progressively eliminated).

Integrated Water Resources Management

Without reliable access to water, achievement of any other development goal is limited.  The Swiss position on an IWRM goal relates to the 2002 Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which agreed that all countries should developed integrated water resources management plans. Unfortunately, progress towards that goal has slowed and has even regressed.  As demand for water increases and climate change causes shifting patterns of both consumption and precipitation, having the appropriate governance structures in place before reaching a crisis level is imperative.  In order to reduce the risk of water conflicts, “limited freshwater resources have to be managed so as to satisfy human needs, respect cultural values, take into consideration gender aspects and serve economic growth, while also respecting ecosystem requirements:.

By 2025, water resources are managed in every country and every basin based on an integrated water resources management plan.

Wastewater Management and Water Quality

Economic activity produces wastewater and what is done with that wastewater is an important component of water management.  Water released into ecosystems without being treated can damage the ecosystem services that we depend on; the third proposed Swiss target thus focuses on reducing the amount of wastewater that is produced, treating the wastewater that cannot be eliminated, and recycling or reusing as much wastewater as possible.

By 2025, 100% of industrial wastewater is collected, treated to comply with national standards, and reuse/recycling is progressively increased.

Linkages and Nexus

All water issues are connected through the hydrological cycle, as are all water-related needs. To address the linkages between these other sectors, the Swiss propose specific nexus targets within the water-focused goal. By integrating these nexus targets, the Swiss hope to emphasize the shared impact of water, lessening the competition between water users looking for water for health, energy, and food security; instead, promoting the cooperative use of water and water management strategies to improve overall development goals.



The Year Ahead: Ecosystem Marketplace

State of Watershed Payments Then and Now

Charting New Waters ScreenshotThe beginning of 2013 saw the publication of Charting New Waters: The State of Watershed Payments 2012, the flagship water market publication by Ecosystem Marketplace and Forest Trends.  The report, which was launched at the World Bank in January, gained media coverage across the country and the world. The State of series is the most comprehensive effort globally to track the size, scope, and direction of investments in watershed services (IWS), as well as the ecological infrastructure from which they flow.

Through a painstaking process of data collection from 205 active programs worldwide, Charting New Waters outlines the major trends in watershed investment across the world, from the massive state-sponsored eco-compensation programs in China to the rise of the Latin American water fund to the growing interest in stacking and bundling of payments for multiple ecosystem services in both the United States and the developing world.


Launch SlideLater in the year, we released an Executive Summary of the report that reviewed findings of specific-relevance to private sector decision-makers in order to provide a benchmark for business investments in nature-based solutions to the water crisis.  Findings for the private sector included the importance of beverage, manufacturing, and utilities sectors for IWS projects; evidence of policy shifts within countries to promote investments in natural systems; and the potential for public-private partnerships to drive project development and to reduce investment- and implementation-related risks.

State of Watershed Payments: Part Three

As we move into 2014, work has already begun on the next installment in the series.  A planned launch at World Water Week in Sweden means that data collection, analysis, and writing will be ramping up considerably in the spring and summer.

What’s New?

Hurricane Sandy created massive destruction in the Northeast, yet natural infrastructure was able to protect some areas.

The new report will focus more on outcomes of IWS projects rather than focusing on the amount of money traded within the markets. We hope to answer questions about what ecological, socio-economic, or economic outcomes the projects hope to achieve and how they are measuring these outcomes.  Another new aspect to the approach will be an examination of the way that risks shape the form investments in watershed services projects take. Are investors concerned about risk from climate change, regulation, or water scarcity? In the United States, the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy has led to an increased awareness of the importance of natural infrastructure as a mitigation strategy – but has it led to increased investment in New York and other vulnerable areas? Incorporating these new questions into the data collection has required considerable revision of the standard survey (currently being revised and reviewed).

According to Genevieve Bennett, lead researcher on the project, the team working on the survey is also thinking in depth about what kind of data will be useful for specific audiences for watershed management projects. Much as the Executive Summary for business identifies key data and trends useful for the private sector decision-maker, the new SOWP interview will collect data that will be useful for water utility managers, infrastructure managers, and city officials.  As part of the survey development process, the EM team has been reaching out to leaders within these areas, working to identify what kind of information these leaders would need to convince their stakeholders to consider investing in natural infrastructure. Part of the focus group for this revision process has been the Water Initiative’s pilot projects.  In thinking about the survey language and questions, the team is trying to work closely with the demonstration projects, include them as project highlights, and also to understand what kind of information will be useful to our partners on the ground in scaling up models for IWS further.

The State of series lets us integrate this on-the-ground project work with a very high-level, global aggregation of projects and data.  This combination enables us to accelerate our learning about IWS and how we are going to scale it up within our own projects. – Genevieve Bennett

Predictions for the New Report

Although it’s way too early to make predictions about the changes that have occurred over the past year in watershed payments, a few trends can be expected:

  • Water funds will show continued growth in both Latin America and North America;

  • A number of new projects focused on maintaining water quality will have become active within the next year;

  • As the watershed market space continues to develop and mature, more complicated and sophisticated financing and payment mechanisms will be put in place; and

  • The bulk of investment in this space will continue to come from China.

Related Resources:

  • Link to the recording of the launch of Charting New Waters here.
  • View the slide presentation from the launch here.
  • A review of the launch, as well as links to news coverage, is available here.

Water Initiative Team Profile: Genevieve Bennett

Gen also likes to get out and get in the water!

Gen also likes to get out and get in the water!

Tracking water markets and watershed payments is an integral part of the work of the Water Initiative and one of the women behind the curtain tracking these markets is Genevieve (Gen) Bennett, Senior Associate at Ecosystem Marketplace.  Since joining Forest Trends and Ecosystem Marketplace in 2010, Gen has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge around both water and biodiversity markets, serving as lead author on “Charting New Waters: State of Watershed Payments 2012” and co-author of “State of Biodiversity Markets 2011”.  Gen’s interest in the water policy arena has been long-standing, beginning with an interest in water as an environmental justice issue.

How did you first become interested in working with water?

After I completed my undergraduate degree at NYU in International Political Economy, I worked for the NYU School of Public Service as a Program Assistant. Part of the job was coordinating and working with a social leadership network.  We did a lot of capacity training for direct service organizations, and many of them were working on environmental justice issues in the region.  From that work, I became interested in water mainly from the EJ perspective. As I worked through my graduate program, that interest in water shifted into looking at more of the economic and environmental aspects of water, which led me to where I am now. read more »