Mainstreaming of Natural Capital and Biodiversity into Planning and Decision-Making: Cases from Latin America and the Caribbean

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Sep 2020
The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region enjoys an exuberant natural wealth; with 16 percent of the planets land, the region is home to 40 percent of the worlds biological diversity. This report investigates and provides a good overview of the regions efforts to mainstream natural capital and biodiversity concerns into public policy. It also provides a series of policy tools and instruments:payments for ecosystems services, innovation in managing protected areas, conservation trust funds, nature-based solutions for infrastructure, small-scale sustainable fisheries management, natural capital and ecosystem accounting, and ecosystem-based adaptation in agriculture. Two key lessons emerge from this report. First, mainstreaming natural capital and biodiversity considerations into day-to-day activities inevitably requires the involvement of multiple stakeholders (from communities to private firms) that should become central players in constructing and governing LACs natural wealth. Still, all the tools described in this report share a common feature: strong endorsement and support from government institutions, well beyond environmental authorities. Second, the lessons derived from policy tools with a longer history are evidence of the constant political, financial, and technical challenges faced by these policies for long-term sustainability. Although some of the policy tools described in this report have a long history, none of them can take their survival for granted. Solving the financial and technical challenges is typically the only functioning strategy to deal with political issues. The report suggests a series of key enabling conditions that facilitate mainstreaming natural capital and biodiversity considerations into public policy.