28, November, 2013

Spotlight on Organisations: Green Economy Policy and Practice in Latin America

This Spotlight highlights some of the key organisations in Latin America working on themes such as forest-based payment for ecosystem services, water pollution abatement and watershed conservation, promotion of renewable energy infrastructure and green building development, and new institutional partnerships that are helping to support national transitions to greener economies.

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World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), Americas Regional Network (ARN)

Link: http://www.worldgbc.org/regions/americas/
Areas of Expertise: Building standards, green buildings, urban planning and sustainable development
Key Activities: Building networks, awareness-raising campaigns, lobbying for progressive building policies
The World GBC ARN spans and area that extends from Canada to Chile and leverages support from 24 Green Building Councils across the Americas, facilitating cooperation and driving the growth of the green building market in the region. By working to integrate these goals into national strategies, ARN aims to decrease the impact of cities on the region’s abundant natural resources and biodiversity. Thanks to the diversity of expertise among its members, the ARN shares knowledge and lessons across its network and hosts an annual congress.

International Finance Corporation (IFC): Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) Green Buildings Certification System

Link: http://www.ifc.org
Areas of Expertise: Low to middle income green buildings
Key Activities: Project design, finance, capacity building and certification
In collaboration with the World Green Building Council, the IFC runs an international certification scheme for green building called EDGE, aimed at rapidly scaling-up green building construction in emerging markets. By focusing on low to middle-income building projects, this new programme is helping to “democratise” the green building market by promoting resource efficiency in developing countries and extending green building gains beyond niche, top-tier clients to the mass market. The programme was announced in July 2013, with pilot projects operating in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, and another 20 countries to be selected for 2014.


Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Energy in Latin America and Caribbean Programme

Link: http://www.iadb.org/en/topics/energy/energy-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean,1272.html
Areas of Expertise: Renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy integration
Key Activities: Finance, consulting, capacity building, cross-border energy integration, energy matrix diversification, research and pilot projects
The IDB uses its expertise and resources to help member countries in Latin America assess the social, financial, and environmental sustainability of renewable energy projects, which often includes project financing as well. Energy efficiency is central to IDB, and the organisation predicts it can reduce the region’s energy consumption by 10%. The IDB is an expert in cross-border integration, demonstrated by the Central American Energy Integration System (SIEPAC). Finally, the IDB is a key actor in the regional development of resources used to generate and transmit electricity.

Organization of American States, Renewable Energy in the Americas Initiative

Link: http://www.oas.org/usde/reia/
Areas of Expertise: Efficient, renewable, and environmentally friendly energy generation
Key Activities: Institutional and technical capacity building programmes, conferences and workshops on sustainable energy technologies and projects
Operating within the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States, the Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) initiative aims to encourage, support and facilitate replicable projects in the Latin American region, build partnerships for the adoption of these technologies and provide political, financial and institutional strategies to create the right enabling environments. The REIA initiative is also a renewable energy information hub that provides access to information on renewable energy technologies, relevant news, tenders and events, as well as a host of publications on ongoing projects.

Renewable Energy America (Energías Renovables America)

Link: http://www.energias-renovables.com/len/ame
Areas of Expertise: Renewable energy
Key Activities: Online articles, print magazine, industry training and events
Founded in 1998 as the region’s first clean energy magazine written in Spanish, this company covers wind, solar, biofuels, mini-hydro, geothermal and tidal energy by reporting on regional trends, country-level analyses and projects. It has a circulation of 80,000 printed magazines that are sent to the energy industry, policymakers and research organisations. OJD/Nielson audits online data for accuracy and the company has agreements with large organisations, such as UNEP. The digital version of the Energías Renovables America magazine is available on the website.

Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE)

Links: http://www.lac-core.org
Areas of Expertise: Research and innovation, new technologies and financing opportunities
Key Activities: Stakeholder development, conferences, webinars, seminars, workshops, forums, tradeshows and expert reports
Since 2008, LAC-CORE and its members have worked to bolster renewable energy and energy efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean by fostering an expansive network for stakeholders to “convene, educate, and collaborate” with respect to sustainable energy solutions. This is achieved by engaging both government and the private sector with the understanding that government actors must identify the proper communication strategies to share policies and programmes with renewable energy industry participants, while simultaneously addressing the private sector’s call for more opportunities to share challenges and best practices in energy project development.

Institute of the Americas Energy Program (IOA)

Link: https://www.iamericas.org/en/programs-sp-998874089/energy
Areas of Expertise: Investment, development, policy, economics, transmission and cross-border integration
Key Activities: Roundtables, conferences, podcasts, webinars, interviews, videos and professional workshops
Since 1983, the Institute of the Americas (IOA) has been driving information sharing and investment between Latin America, the United States and Canada, in both the public and private sector, on energy and technology markets. A non-profit organisation, the primary focus of the Institute’s programmes is energy, climate change and clean technology development. One of its biggest annual events is the La Jolla Energy Conference, which is going into its 23rd year.


The Amazon Fund

Link: http://www.amazonfund.org/
Areas of Expertise: Rainforest preservation and restoration
Key Activities: Management of public forests and protected areas, environmental control, monitoring and inspection, sustainable forest management and commerce, ecological and economic zoning, territorial arrangement and agricultural regulation and reforestation
The Amazon Fund, in collaboration with the Amazonia Association, was founded in 2008 in order to create incentives for rainforest preservation through conservation sponsorships from donors. These include large donations from governments such as Norway, which donated US$27.7 million in 2009. The Amazon Fund Brazil was established to increase in-country administration and implementation, and is run by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). From 2009 to 2012, the Fund approved 36 projects, with an average term of three years per project and funding totalling US$215.2 million.

Latin American Conservation Council

Link: http://www.nature.org/latin-america-conservation-council/
Areas of Expertise: Water security, sustainable food security and smart infrastructure
Key Activities: Research, project implementation and stakeholder dialogue
Founded in 2011 with the mission to conserve Latin America’s natural capital, the Latin American Conservation Council leverages its knowledge, networks, and resources to address three of the region’s most pressing challenges: water security, sustainable food security, and smart infrastructure. Thanks to its partnership with The Nature Conservancy, it operates in 16 Latin American countries and aims to make the region “best in class” by developing solutions that preserve nature and provide for people.


The Fund for the Protection of Water (FONAG)

Link: http://www.fonag.org.ec/inicio/
Areas of Expertise: Watershed conservation, afforestation, payment for ecosystem services, water quality management and environmental education
Key Activities: Land purchase, hydrography and climate monitoring, communication: publications and events, native plant cultivation and primary school education
FONAG is a water fund made up of public and private organisations surrounding the metropolitan region of Quito, Ecuador. Constituent members include Quito Electric Company, Tesalia Springs Co. (a private water bottling company), the Public Water and Sanitation Department of Metropolitan Quito, and The Nature Conservancy. The Fund constitutes a payment for environmental services scheme where local water users, including hydropower and water supply companies, contribute regularly under a self-taxing arrangement. Revenue from interest and investments derived from fund equity are used to finance activities aimed at conserving the basins that supply water resources.

Condesan (The Consortium for Sustainable Development in the Andean Ecoregion)

Link: http://www.condesan.org/portal/
Areas of Expertise: Watershed management, payment for ecosystem services, intermediary based-transaction, userfees/pooled transaction
Key Activities: Afforestation, sediment load reduction, monitoring, community participation, capacity building and market creation
Headquartered in Peru, Condesan supports a diversity of sustainable development projects in the Andean region. One of their principal projects – Cuencas Andinas – was designed to address threats to water quantity and quality in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru due to erosion caused by slash and burn agriculture surrounding regional river basins. In the scheme, urban water users finance the conservation and recovery of hydrological environmental services through direct funding to farmers for reforesting, conservation activities and monitoring in the area. Condesan runs field research and development projects, creates spaces for dialogue and networking, and has set up the online communications platform, InfoAndina, The website provides access to links to further audio-visual resources related to their work, as well as 33 topical e-fora that have been running since 1995.

Heredia Public Service Enterprise

Links: http://www.watershedmarkets.org/casestudies/Costa_Rica_ESPH.html
Areas of Expertise: Water and forest conservation, and reforestation
Key Activities: Forest financing, hydrological fees and concession permits, local water company partnerships, improving drinking water
In Heredia, Costa Rica, the Public Service Enterprise pays for watershed conservation using funds derived from a levy on consumers. The fund is currently contributing around US$0.5 million per annum towards the conservation of about 18,000 hectares. This social equity and user-pays initiative has proved to be a high-benefit, low-cost investment strategy and is self-sufficient from both government and international aid in its administration and funding. The website describes the project implementation in detail, including information on stakeholders, market design, cost-benefit analyses and further references.

SINA (National System for the Environment)

Link: http://www.humboldt.org.co/sina/c-sina.htm
Areas of Expertise: Hydrology, meteorology, environment, marine and costal ecosystems, sociology and biology (in the Amazon region)
Key Activities: Physical analysis and information dissemination
The National System for the Environment (SINA) was created in Colombia in 1993 to improve environmental planning processes and co-finance environmental research programmes. It is comprised of the Ministry of the Environment, 33 regional autonomous resource management corporations responsible for sustainable development for the entire country, four environmental agencies, five research institutes, and entities at the departmental, municipal and district levels. The SINA promotes a structural view of diversified responsibility for detailed environmental management. The website provides links to member research centres, as well as the specific departments working in the coastal and Amazonian jungle regions.

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