IDB, GEF, Nature Conservancy and FEMSA Create US$27 Million Water Fund

9 June 2011: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Nature Conservancy and the FEMSA Foundation have launched a US$27 million dollar initiative to create water funds, private-public partnerships to protect critical watersheds in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and other countries.

The water funds are expected to support conservation of over seven million acres of watershed, attracting voluntary contributions from large water users downstream, like water utilities, hydroelectric companies, or industries, who benefit directly from the preservation of water quality through upstream activities such as reforestation, ecotourism and monitoring water flows. Water Funds also help create incentives for green economic opportunities that have a positive impact on local communities, such as sustainable farming.

The Latin American US$27 million dollar initiative is expected to create, implement, and capitalize at least 32 Water Funds in Latin America and the Caribbean, and could benefit up to 50 million people. The watersheds conservation model is also expected to be replicated in other regions of the world as a tool to address global challenges that can translate into water scarcity, such as climate change. Efforts are already underway in the US, the Caribbean Islands and Africa. [IDB Press Release]