Policy Papers

Strengthening Climate Resilience in Urban Amazonia // Experiences from Tarapoto and the Cumbaza Watershed in San Martín, Peru

This brief presents a Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus case study of the Cumbaza River watershed in San Martin, Peru. The dynamic socio-ecological pressures and complex water-energy-food system interdependencies that exist in increasingly urbanized Amazon landscapes are discussed.

This case study provides further evidence of the key role of forest ecosystems in strengthening urban and rural resilience capacity, and the need for coherent policy responses that maintain socio-ecological sustainability. A systems approach such as the WEF nexus can be an important framework to inform such efforts.

Research Insights

  • 11 priority Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus interactions, such as water demand for food production, are quantified.
  • Economic development, population growth, land use and climate change projections are used to generate future resource demand-supply WEF scenarios and identify natural resource thresholds in the Cumbaza watershed.
  • Differentiated vulnerabilities and resource risks across rural and urban households are highlighted, for example water scarcity for smallholder irrigation agriculture and the impact of increased sediment loads on urban water treatment capacity.
  • The fundamental role of forest ecosystem services in underpinning key WEF securities in the watershed, in particular erosion prevention, water retention and biomass provision, is highlighted.

Policy Recommendations

  • Prioritising green infrastructure will be critical for WEF nexus resilience in the Cumbaza watershed, in particular for meeting urban and agriculture water demands.
  • Risk mitigation actions and resilience strategies will need to account for local and regional level dependencies, in particular on growing food and energy import demands from urban centres and transportation infrastructure.
  • Integrating watershed management platforms at scale, in this case for the Cumbaza-Mayo river watersheds, will be required to meet local and regional energy and food security objectives.
  • Improved institutional information exchanges and coordination on cross-cutting WEF nexus interactions are required. This will enable more systematic WEF nexus assessments and effective monitoring of socio-ecological changes


Global Canopy website


March 2018


Global Canopy

Global Canopy is an innovative environmental organisation that targets the market forces destroying tropical forests. Our mission is to accelerate progress towards a deforestation-free global economy - through improved transparency, innovative finance and strategic communications. Since 2001, we have catalysed new thinking and action by leading governments, companies and investors worldwide.

Further reading

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