Nature Conservancy announces launch of a six-year project spanning Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru that aims to transform 3 million hectares of agricultural land into regenerative landscape through ecosystem-based adaptation

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BERLIN , November 10, 2022 (press release) –

  • The Nature Conservancy will implement a €20M ($24M USD) six-year agricultural project for five Latin American countries together in a consortium with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Nestlé.
  • The consortium will transform 3 million hectares of agricultural land into regenerative landscapes through Ecosystem-based Adaptation, positively impacting up to 22,000 people and avoiding 25% of CO2 emissions through regenerative agriculture and ranching.
  • The funding derives from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) by the German Federal Government. 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announces the launch of a new six-year project spanning five countries in Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru) to invest in Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Regenerative Ranching and Agriculture production systems. The project will create a multi-stakeholder platform which leverages TNC´s and partners´ diverse expertise and networks across the region to rapidly scale investments, tools, and methodologies in regenerative food systems in Latin America.

These five countries carry a great deal of importance for the region and the world’s food system. In Latin America, extensive agriculture and ranching are responsible for 70% of land clearing and 20% of regional greenhouse gas emissions[1]. This threatens the resources on which this agricultural productivity is based, jeopardizing everything from food security and biodiversity to nature’s resilience to the growing climate crisis. Climate change is unsettling Latin America´s agricultural systems – a disruption amplified by COVID-19 as value chains have been upended, driving producers into unsustainable production methods. Yet, regenerative agriculture holds great promise to increase agricultural production, restore degraded soils, increase water security, and carbon sequestration while utilizing biodiversity, strengthening climate resilience, and promoting community equity and wellbeing.

Through an improved enabling environment for EbA, the project will transform three million hectares (7.4M acres) of agricultural land into regenerative landscapes that benefit climate resilience, biodiversity, productivity, producers, and their communities. The project will collect science-based knowledge on EbA to strengthen regulatory frameworks and scale regenerative agriculture practices, therefore increasing rural communities' resilience to climate change by ensuring that the value of ecosystem services and the benefits to people are considered in the planning and execution of viable agriculture-based economies.

The project will develop and test 13 business models with climate and agricultural data and will implement at least five financial instruments/financial risk transfer solutions to enable financing and investment in EbA practices from both public and private sources. Of the approximately 22,000 people positively impacted via this project, a minimum of 7,219 producers will implement EbA and regenerative practices on their farms. All these approaches — from building the evidence base, designing innovative business models, and addressing financing and policy gaps — will be consolidated into the design of the multi-stakeholder platform, which serves as a convening mechanism to facilitate public-private-academic-community coordination and management of this transition.

“It is about time that we find intelligent solutions that incorporate nature and climate protection together and use synergies. Promoting nature-based solutions is a key pathway to combining biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to address other societal challenges such as food security, safe water supply and pandemic prevention. We are committed to strong social and environmental safeguards, strict environmental integrity requirements, and resilient and climate-adapted solutions that are sustainable in the long term,” said Dr. Ulf Jaeckel, Head of Division, European and International Affairs of Adaptation to Climate Change, BMUV.

“This project represents an enormous opportunity to shift the global food system in a way that restores the planet, strengthens food security, and boosts resilience. Through widespread adoption of regenerative practices and supply chains, we can reduce climate risk and environmental impacts, while providing benefits to producers and communities.  It’s a powerful example of Latin America’s potential to contribute to a nature-positive future,” said Jen Morris, Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy.

To prepare and steer the Project’s scale and desired impacts, the consortium has designed a mechanism with five outputs, including two for measuring impact and risk. The Project’s five outputs are detailed as the following:

  • Collaborative platform: A multi-stakeholder platform will be developed as a collaborative engine to engage governments, businesses, researchers, civil society, and producers around the collective vision of scaling EbA and regenerative agriculture. The multi-stakeholder platform will create tools, policies, and business models.
  • Knowledge transfer: To ensure impact at the landscape level, the project will focus on knowledge development and sharing by providing country-customized interdisciplinary situation analyses and gender action plans, creating pathways for system transformation by building stakeholder capacity. 
  • Business models: Based on scientific evidence around EbA and regenerative agriculture, thirteen business models will be identified, improved, or designed to catalyze entrepreneurial development within the priority value chains.
  • Policy: Public policies and finance instruments will be co-designed to enable EbA and regenerative agriculture to meet carbon capture goals, as well as adaptation and mitigation to nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
  • Financing EbA: Private finance mechanisms will be designed and tailored to increase availability of private credit, investment, and operating budgets that can be channeled to institutions and producers implementing EbA and regenerative agriculture.

One of the first actions of this project will be to undergo a gender, diversity, equity, and inclusion analysis which includes the identification of barriers for women, indigenous peoples, and communities in conditions of vulnerability and an action plan to ensure their inclusion. All partners, both in the consortium and at the national and local level, will receive a dedicated training to ensure these principles are embedded in the project vision. Another key product underway is the co-design of a regenerative agriculture index that can be used to measure positive impacts for social, economic, and environmental outcomes of this transition.

This project has significant ambition to transform the way we produce food while utilizing biodiversity to increase climate resilience and aims to serve as a replicable model in the region and globally. And as one of the largest investments from the German IKI in Latin America for EbA and agriculture, this project will collaborate with the following five political partners across the region: The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Argentina, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) in Colombia, the Ministry of Environment (MAE) in Ecuador, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES) in Paraguay, and the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) in Perú.

For more information, please visit the International Climate Initiative website (IKI).

About IKI:
The project´s main donor, The International Climate Initiative (IKI), is an important part of the German government international climate finance commitment. Since 2022, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is the administrative lead for the IKI. The funding program cooperates closely with the Federal Ministry for Environment Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), as well as the Federal Foreign Office. Through the IKI, the ministries jointly support approaches in developing and emerging countries to implement and ambitiously develop the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) anchored in the Paris Agreement. This includes measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to conserve and rebuild natural carbon sinks, considering environmental, economic, and social concerns. With regards to biodiversity, the IKI also supports its partner countries in achieving the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

About UFZ:
Consortium partner, UFZ –Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, convenes academic community and research contributions, while integrating academic transformative change perspective and the project´s theory of change. At (UFZ), scientists conduct research into the causes and consequences of far-reaching environmental changes. They support the political arena, the economy, and the public to better understand the consequences of human actions on the environment and to develop options for social decision-making processes. Their areas of study cover water resources, ecosystems of the future, environmental technologies and biotechnologies, the effects of chemicals in the environment, modelling, and social-scientific issues. To learn more, visit www.ufz.de.

About ECLAC:
Consortium partner, ECLAC –Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, supports and articulates public policies at national and regional levels, barriers, regulations, and advises on the project´s financial issues. ECLAC regularly convenes governments, policymakers, and researchers to address economic, social, and environmental challenges for the economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean and translate these challenges into policies at regional and national levels.

About Nestlé:
Consortium partner, Nestlé, mobilizes and advocates for private sector commitments and the project´s scaling of EbA agricultural business models. Nestlé is the world’s leading food and beverage company, with over 270,000 employees, more than 2,000 brands and a presence in 186 countries. As the Good Food, Good Life company, Nestlé believes in the power of food to help people and pets live happier, healthier lives.

 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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