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Climate Action 2009-2010

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© Bettyx1138/Flickr 162 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Mangroves and coral reefs, for example, protect shorelines from the wind-generated waves of storms and hurricanes. creation of 195 kilometres of tree windbreaks. In the end, 700 hectares of rangeland were rehabilitated, resulting in increased soil cover, reduced soil erosion, greater carbon sequestration, increased biodiversity levels, and generally healthier ecosystems. CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION Not only can preserving biodiversity mitigate climate change, it can also lessen the impacts of changes that do take place. It has been estimated that enhancing agricultural biodiversity through activities such as changing varieties and planting times can result in the avoidance of a ten to 15 per cent reduction in yield under one to two degrees celsius local temperature increases. In addition, biodiversity can help safeguard us against the extreme weather events associated with climate change. Mangroves and coral reefs, for example, protect shorelines from the wind-generated waves of storms and hurricanes. This is very clearly seen in a case study from Vietnam, a country where extreme weather events such as typhoons often cause considerable damage. “ Biodiversity can help safeguard us against the extreme weather events associated with climate change “ BIODIVERSITY and acacia; poleward and upward shifts in habitats; replacement of tropical forests with savannah; and the shifting of desert dunes. CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION On the positive side, given that biodiversity loss and climate change interact with each other, they can also be addressed synergistically. Sustainable land management in agricultural areas can increase carbon sequestration in the soil through techniques such as integrated pest management, conservation tillage, intercropping, and the planting of cover crops. When cover crops are used in combination with conservation tillage, soil carbon content can increase annually for a period of up to 50 years. The sustainable management of grazing land can provide similar co-benefits, since such lands contain between ten and 30 per cent of the world’s soil carbon stocks. Bara, a drought-prone province in western Sudan, provides an example of such techniques working in practice. Cultivation of marginal lands, fuel wood gathering and overstocking of livestock have historically depleted the vegetation in this region. As a result, soil erosion, desertification and atmospheric dust have all intensified. However, beginning in 1992 and continuing through 2000, a group of 17 villages took part in a project funded by the Global Environment Facility to rehabilitate overexploited and highly vulnerable rangelands. Activities included the improvement of rangeland with native vegetation, the stabilisation of sand dunes with trees and grass, and the Since 1994, the Vietnam National Chapter of the Red Cross has been working with local communities to rehabilitate mangroves. Activities include the planting and protection of mangroves and upland trees, disaster preparedness training and general awareness-raising about the value of mangroves. Around 12,000 hectares of mangroves have been planted. During the devastating typhoon Wukong in 2000, project areas remained unharmed while neighbouring provinces suffered severe casualties and property damage. Overall, the Vietnam Red Cross estimates that about 7,750 families benefited from mangrove rehabilitation. The Vietnam experience was also borne out in Thailand during the catastrophic 2004 Asian tsunami. A study showed that communities protected by mangroves and other coastal plants escaped with little damage, while neighbouring villages without such protection were completely destroyed. THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Recognising the relationships between biodiversity loss and climate change, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – the international instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity – have incorporated climate change into almost all of their programmes of work. Further recognising the economic dividends of protecting biodiversity and the need to engage the private sector, the Parties began to V I SIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG

ECOSYSTEM SERVICES seek business participation in the implementation of the Convention following their eighth conference (COP8) in Curitiba, Brazil, in 2006. This initiative is already bearing fruit. This past summer a Brazilian project called “LIFE certification” was launched in Curitiba, which aims to both quantify and officially recognise actions by companies related to biodiversity conservation. In addition, at COP9 in Bonn, the First International Business Initiative for the Protection of Biodiversity was launched. Bringing together a group of 34 companies from Germany and other countries, the initiative aims to more closely involve the private sector in achieving the CBD’s objectives. Japan, which will host the CBD’s tenth meeting in October 2010, is also contributing to these efforts: Keidanren, the Japanese Business Federation, has launched a business and biodiversity initiative, while the Japanese Ministry of the Environment has been preparing guidelines on the topic. Figure 2. 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity will be a critical period in the fight to save biodiversity. THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF BIODIVERSITY 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity (Figure 2), will be a critical period in the fight to save biodiversity. Seven years ago the international community adopted the 2010 Biodiversity Target, a resolution to significantly slow the rate of biodiversity loss worldwide by 2010. The last three meetings of G8 environment ministers have all endorsed the 2010 Target and called for increased engagement at the highest political levels, putting biodiversity loss on the agenda at G8 summits in Heiligendamm in 2007, Hokkaido/Toyako in 2008, and L’Aquila in 2009. In September of next year, just prior to COP10 in Nagoya, heads of state and government attending the 65 th session of the UN General Assembly will discuss the importance of biodiversity for the first time ever. At COP10 itself, we will asses how close we have come to achieving the 2010 Target, as well as create a forward-looking strategy for ultimately stopping biodiversity loss in the years to come. The importance of the International Year of Biodiversity is increased by the fact that it begins shortly after the Copenhagen climate talks. There is a pressing need to link biodiversity loss and climate change in the international consciousness, and to make the economic benefits of jointly addressing these crises more widely known. The 10 months between Copenhagen and Nagoya present a prime opportunity to do just that: now is the time for companies, businesses and industries to become aware and involved. Author An Algerian national, Dr. Djoghlaf has pursued a distinguished diplomatic career that has included postings with the government of Algeria and UNEP. He assumed the position of Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on January 3, 2006. He was named to his previous position as Assistant Executive Director of UNEP in June 2003, following his success as Director and Coordinator of UNEP’s Division of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), where he played a key role for some seven years and successfully raised UNEP’S profile. During his tenure at the GEF, the portfolio grew from six projects worth $28 million to 600 projects worth more than $1 billion implemented in 155 countries. Organisation Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of its benefits. With 190 parties, the CBD has near-universal participation among countries that have committed to preserving life on earth. The CBD seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. Enquiries Ahmed Djoghlaf United Nations Environment Programme Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity 413 St-Jacques, World Trade Centre 8th Floor, Suite 800 Montreal, H2Y1N9 Canada Tel: +1 (514) 287-7002 BIODIVERSITY 163 V I SIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG