Summary of the 2022 IISD Forum on Natural Infrastructure Performance and Metrics
A better business case for NI will require metrics, data, and communications tailored to the needs of different audiences, packaged in a way that tells a compelling story.
A key challenge for building a better business case for NI across the Prairies relates to setting targets for performance and ensuring adequate data to track performance in relation to those targets.
Making the economic benefits of investing in NI more visible on balance sheets and in regulatory and funding decisions is a key avenue for moving forward.
On October 12 and 13, 2022, the International Institute for Sustainable Development hosted the Forum on Natural Infrastructure (NI) Performance and Metrics in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The forum brought together leading experts and practitioners working to advance NI and nature-based solutions, with a focus on the Canadian Prairies. Together, participants discussed key challenges, opportunities, and technical considerations related to building a better business case for water-related NI across Canada’s Prairies. Participants included funders of NI, scientists and researchers, watershed groups, different levels of government (local, provincial, federal), and Indigenous Peoples, among others.
Day 1 of the 2-day forum included presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions related to advancing our collective understanding of the business case for NI solutions and how to deliver at a scale appropriate to the existing and future water challenges on the Prairies. Day 2 continued on the road, visiting NI and hybrid infrastructure sites in southern Manitoba, including the Ste. Geneviève retention pond, Grand Marais Lagoon, Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve, Red River Floodway, and several urban sites within Winnipeg, including the John Hirsch Place soil cells, Human Rights Museum green roof, Sage Creek naturalized stormwater ponds, and East St. Paul floating treatment wetlands. At each site, attendees learned about their function and the metrics used to understand and evaluate performance.
The eight most significant findings and actions suggested by participants of the forum to strengthen the business case for NI and, ultimately, to accelerate the adoption of NI across Canada’s Prairies, can be found within this report.
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