Friday, December 5, 2014

Scientists and policy makers call for greater efforts to integrate biodiversity into climate change politics

Lima, 5 December 2014 – A group of scientists and policymakers delivered a declaration to the Minister of the Environment of Peru, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, the president of UNFCCC Cop-20, that calls for integrated research on biodiversity and climate change and increased recognition of key biodiversity issues in the context of climate change.

The declaration contains a set of recommendations from scientists who assessed the status, trends and vulnerability of biodiversity to climate change. According to scientists who met during a 2-day symposium on Biodiversity and Climate Change held in Lima, the role of biodiversity in carbon sequestration and in resilience for adaptation needs to be better recognized in the climate negotiations.

"To protect people and the planet from climate change, we need to agree on urgent actions to reduce GHG emissions and to help countries adapt to the unavoidable impacts. The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity -- in our forests, mountains and oceans -- and the restoration of these ecosystems, can be an important part of the solution to the climate change problem. To develop integrated policies for biodiversity and climate change we need to understand how biodiversity and the climate are changing, the effects of each on the other, as well as how our response measures to address climate change affect
biodiversity and vice-versa." said Gabriel Quijandria Acosta, vice-minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Environment, Peru.

Specifically, the work presented at the conference demonstrated that:
- Biodiversity can enhance the resilience of ecosystem structure to environmental changes, such as prolonged drought,
- Biodiversity is changing across many different taxonomic groups and biomes, including
mountains, oceans and forests, as a result of a wide range of recent environmental changes such as increasing temperature, and increased frequencies of extreme floods and droughts;
- Effective sustainable management requires understanding both the ecological and socio-economic dimensions of the problem and requires coherent policies at all levels of government;
- Possible solutions include community-based projects that provide economic or other benefits, carefully designed restoration projects, and/or appropriate incentives to support ecologically sustainable land-use practices; and
- A coherent set of actions across sectors and levels of government and society is needed for effective action to address climate change and biodiversity loss, including a policy framework, economic incentives aligned with that framework, public participation continuous monitoring and effective enforcement.

Scientists identified recommendations and potential areas for collaboration and called for enhanced collaboration and support for research in biodiversity, climate change and socio-economic factors. "Biodiversity is affected by climate change and in turn affects the carbon balance of ecosystems.

Understanding these feedbacks and their relationship to human activities is the aim of the collaborative, international research and capacity building networks of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI). The CBD secretariat, international cooperation agencies, such as GIZ and international scientific research organizations are expanding the networking and linkages between disciplines, and between the science and policy sectors. We truly hope the dialogue will be taken as an example by others," said Holm Tiessen, IAI Executive Director.

The symposium was held after the publication earlier this year of the IPPC’s 5th Assessment report and the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-4), with the aim to assess the current state of scientific knowledge on biodiversity and climate change. The declaration was presented at a side-event on December 5th from 08:00-09:30am at the Peru pavilion. The text of the declaration is available at

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