How Peru is scaling up nature-based solutions for water

  • 30.10.2022
  • Forest Trends

If last year’s climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland are any indicator, we can expect to see even more urgent calls and commitments for scaling-up nature-based climate solutions at the upcoming COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. These calls recognize that nature-based solutions (NBS)—which include actions to conserve and restore critical ecosystems like forests, wetlands, grasslands, and mangroves – hold enormous potential to increase groundwater recharge, stabilize soils, sequester carbon, and buffer climatic extremes – all while providing a range of co-benefits for local livelihoods, health, and biodiversity.

Once the lights of the COP dim, however, policymakers and NBS proponents are likely to encounter the challenge that there is very limited experience in executing nature-based solutions for water and climate adaptation at scale. We have many good examples of NBS in successful local cases, but we have few models of bringing these solutions to a sectoral or national scale.

The good news is that we know of at least one place that offers a remarkable model for scaling up NBS for water and climate resilience – Peru. Between 2010 and 2020, investments executed in natural infrastructure for water security in Peru grew from less than $1 million to about $10 million per year.[1] In addition to these investments that are already reaching the ground, more are in the wings. In the last 15 years, Peru’s drinking water sector has increased commitments for NBS investment from zero to over $50 million.[2] And as the drinking water sector’s funding makes its way to the ground, new commitments are coming on-board, like plans for a national disaster reconstruction program in Peru to invest over $200 million in natural infrastructure to mitigate risks of floods and landslides. What’s more, these scaled-up commitments also have a robust project portfolio to match, and Peru’s next chapter of scaled implementation of NBS is about to begin.