Latin America

In Latin American and the Caribbean, virtually all growth in transactions in 2012-2013 was driven by mid-sized programs (defined as transacting between $500,000-$1M/year), led by ever-multiplying water funds. Peru and Colombia both passed ground-breaking legislation supporting watershed investment in 2013, the effects of which will be felt in the coming years.


At a Glance: Watershed Investment in Latin America & the Caribbean

  2011 2013
Operational programs 28 68
Programs in development 8 19
Value $87.1M $84.9M
Total land area managed for watershed services (hectares) 3.4M 6.1M
  • Latin American IWS programs delivered 5% annual growth by area between 2011 and 2013, with more than 300,000 hectares of new lands coming under management in 2013. But watershed investment in the region struggles to keep pace with ongoing threats to water supplies, particularly deforestation and urban growth in water-rich forests in Amazonia, and impacts from climate change and mining on Andean landscapes.
  • Despite a dip in funding in 2013 in the region’s largest initiative, Mexico’s National Program for Hydrological Environmental Services saw strong continued growth in mid-sized programs (defined as those transacting between $0.5M-$1M/year) in 2012 and 2013, led by ever-multiplying water funds.
  • Collective action models saw a surge in growth: The region added a dozen new water funds during the period and incubated approximately twice that number for future launch.
  • Ecosystem Marketplace has tracked a burst of activity in Brazil, where the Water Producer program model has grown in a few short years from a single pilot to 19 mechanisms across the country.
  • Andean countries pushed forward several policy initiatives and laws strengthening the legal basis and frameworks for watershed investment in 2012 and 2013, though their effects have yet to be felt.
  • Latin America has become an incubator for innovation, with strong collaboration on cross-project learning and fundraising, led by the Latin American Water Funds Partnership and Brazil’s Fundacão Grupo Boticário, and efforts such as a new Reciprocal Water Agreements School in Bolivia. These networks look to be accelerating not only new project development but also efforts to deliver more robust monitoring and project appraisal tools.

Related links

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace’s Watershed Connect Program Inventory:

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of Watershed Investment 2014 report, Chapter 8: