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Data Initiative Will Bolster Case For Nature-based Infrastructure For Climate Adaptation

VIENNA, Austria

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has launched a new initiative that will deploy financial modelling and climate change projections to establish the business case for investing in nature. An initial $2 Million USD grant, announced 31 July, will be co-financed by the MAVA Foundation to scale-up the impact of the project.

The data will enable comprehensive, system-wide valuations of natural assets, that reflect capital and operating costs as well as co-benefits from carbon sequestration, air purification, protection against water scarcity, and climate change adaptation, plus cost comparisons with grey infrastructure alternatives.

The data will provide decision makers with the ability to compare green or hybrid infrastructure solutions with alternatives when making decisions about flood control, food security, coastal protection, water conservation and wastewater treatment, for example.

Working with, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the MAVA Foundation, the project will use data from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It will include a public online database, with information on the valuation and performance of nature-based infrastructure to be made available to a wide variety of project partners and stakeholders.

“We are proud to support this venture, which will address the critical evidence gap that investors and project developers currently face as they evaluate whether to invest in nature and nature-based infrastructure,” said GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii. “Making this information more readily available will be a game changer for those making long-term decisions about infrastructure investments for economic recovery and development".

“This project will demonstrate that investing in maintaining and restoring our natural capital provides solutions to societal problems – above all to the adaptation to climate change. Most importantly, the training and capacity development offered will scale the project impact far beyond the concrete case examples,” said MAVA Foundation Director General Lynda Mansson.

"Our aim for this project is to consider social, economic, and environmental factors to demonstrate the system-wide case for investing in large-scale nature-based solutions,” said IISD President and CEO Richard Florizone.

The new project is described as an example of the GEF’s ongoing commitment to help countries and partners make wise investment decisions related to nature-based solutions and climate resilience, and reflects the Special Climate Change Fund’s focus on supporting innovative and impactful adaptation solutions. It will also support the Global Commission on Adaptation’s call to scale up action on nature-based solutions for adaptation.