On December 14th, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and GIZ (GADeR-ALC) organized the seventh Nexus virtual forum. The forum was attended by more than 100 participants, representatives of various organizations and sectors. The objective of this virtual forum focused on the presentation of the results of two studies in which biodiversity was the center of the Nexus approach. Expert panelists engaged with the audience throughout the event through online polls, as well as a question and answer section.
The event started with the participation of Dr Silvia Saravia, from ECLAC's Natural Resources Division, who welcomed participants and framed the event under the need to move from the sectoral management of natural resources to a more comprehensive one, where Nature-based Solutions (NBS), such as the Water Funds in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), constitute a paradigm shift that responds to current challenges, safeguarding natural resources and building together with nature. Mr Antonio Levy, Regional Coordinator of the Nexus Dialogue in Latin America, moderated the meeting. In addition, Mr Antonio made a brief presentation on the Nexus program in LAC and its alignment with the 2030 Agenda. Later, Ms Marcia Tambutti, from ECLAC's Natural Resources Division, presented the case studies, highlighting that the Nexus is based on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. Likewise, she indicated that NBS tend to offer multiple uses of resources and represent flexible options to face future challenges, in addition to being inclusive options that begin to insert a gender and indigenous peoples approach.
In the presentation of the results of the study "Nature-Based Solutions with a Nexus approach +B in LAC ", Ms González and Ms Ortiz, official ECLAC consultants, stated that, after systematizing and analyzing more than 200 NBS experiences in the region, 110 of them included at least one of the elements of the Nexus, highlighting the absence of the energy component in many cases, which also represents an opportunity to include it in future projects. In general, the study revealed that there is a close relationship between water and land, as well as between land and food in the NBS analyzed. Regarding the lessons learned in terms of public policies, they highlighted the need for a common framework to evaluate the impact of these initiatives, the application of traditional knowledge, and the potential of innovative urban initiatives.
Ms Alejandra Stehr, official ECLAC consultant, presented the results of the study "The impact of the fragmentation of rivers by damming on the WELF + B components", whose objective was to systematize and analyze the impacts of the construction and operation of dams on biodiversity in LAC and its link with the Nexus components. Stehr exposed a series of impacts of this type of initiatives both in terms of environmental, social and economic matters. Similarly, she proposed a conceptual framework for the integration of the biodiversity component in the case of dammed rivers, where she highlighted the relevance of adopting a basin approach and improving intersectoral planning to achieve more resilient and sustainable systems in the long term. She also remarked the importance of Integrated Water Resources Management as it represents a starting point in this regard, although several challenges still need to be addressed in terms of governance, financing problems and the lack of monitoring and evaluation processes.
Finally, Marina Gil, from ECLAC's Natural Resources Division, closed the event stating that to address the interrelationships of the Nexus and the associated problems requires a paradigm shift and an integrated vision that should not only include the guarantee of accessing to basic services such as water, energy and food in an efficient way, but also to do it in a sustainable way and protecting biodiversity. NBS is an integrated model that can be less expensive and more sustainable than traditional solutions.