During the XXIV Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities organized by the International University of Florida and being held in Miami from June 11TH to 14TH, 2018, Aurelio Ramos, Conservation Programs General Manager at TNC, will be moderating a panel that will showcase the experience of Water Funds in the region with the participation of Hugo Contreras, Director of the Regional Water Security Unit of TNC; Verónica Arias, Secretary of the Metropolitan District of Quito; Maria Claudia de la Osa, Executive Director of Corporación Cuenca Verde and Marco Bressan, Head of Scientific Data of Satellogic.
This conference brings together more than 500 mayors, councilors and people interested in local governance issues in Latin America and The Caribbean. Many of these represent cities in the region where water availability is becoming a more critical issue.
Around the word, water shortages are threatening lives, ecosystems and economies. Cities are at risk: one in four cities is already water stressed. But, nature can play a critical role in improving water security. The natural systems around our water sources—forests, wetlands and grasslands—serve as vital natural infrastructure, capturing, filtering and regulating water as it flows to our communities.
Although cities need to play a leading role in protecting their water sources, they cannot do it on their own. All those who depend on reliable water in quantity and quality need to come together to jointly invest in watershed conservation including businesses, utilities, farmers, rural and urban communities and governments.
Water Funds are the way in which this collaboration can be consolidated since they bring together different stakeholders to create a common understanding and a long-term vision of water security.
A water fund is an organization that designs and enhances financial and governance mechanisms that unite public, private and civil society stakeholders, around a common goal to contribute to water security and sustainable watershed management through nature-based solutions.
From the first Water Fund created in Quito up-to-date, the Water Funds model has been refined and strengthened thanks to the Latin American Water Funds Partnership, an agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), FEMSA Foundation and TNC, who have been able to support the creation of 24 Water Funds in 8 Latin American countries.