CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY
This page provides information and useful links to international convention decisions and national climate change policies relevant to biodiversity conservation climate change adaptation and its role in maintaining and building the resilience of ecosystem services.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UNFCCC was established in 1982, for countries to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable. By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were inadequate and launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change. Two years later they adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.
UNFCCC Parties adopted the Cancun Adaptation Framework as part of the Cancun Agreements at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico (Conference of the Parties (COP) 16 / Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) 6). This affirms that enhanced action on adaptation should be undertaken in accordance with the Convention, taking into consideration (amongst other vital aspects) vulnerable ecosystems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.
Furthermore, it invites all Parties to enhance their action on adaptation including by:
- (Decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 14(a)) Planning, prioritizing and implementing adaptation actions, including projects and programmes in the areas of water resources, agriculture and food security, terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and coastal zones, and actions identified in national and subnational adaptation plans and strategies, National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs – a process for Least Developed Countries to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change), and other relevant national planning documents.
- (Decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 14(d)) building resilience of ecological systems.
Parties to the UNFCCC appoint National Focal Points (click here for contact details).
UNFCCC National Communications are a good source of projected and observed climate change impact information.
National Adaptation Plans and Strategies (NAPAs) are listed below for countries covered by the Climate Change Impacts on the Conservation of Birds in Asia project (other countries coming soon…). These acknowledge to varying degrees the positive role of ecosystems for human adaptation, and the need for biodiversity conservation adaptation to maintain and enhance ecosystem services provision into the future.
- Bhutan National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)
- Cambodia National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)
- India National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPA)
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)
- Nepal National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)
- Vietnam National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NAPA)
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives:
- The conservation of biological diversity
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
- Take measures to manage ecosystems so as to maintain their resilience to extreme climate events and to help mitigate and adapt to climate change
- Integrate biodiversity considerations into all relevant national policies, programmes and plans in response to climate change
- Develop tools for the implementation of biodiversity conservation activities that contribute to adaptation
- Address the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystem services and biodiversity-based livelihoods
- Implement ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation and mitigation
- The Programme of Work on Protected Areas and also CBD COP10 Decision X/31 (taken in Nagoya, Japan) have invited Parties to:
- (X/31, paragraph 14(a)) integrate protected areas into wider landscapes and seascapes and sectors, including through the use of connectivity measures such as the development of ecological networks, ecological corridors, restoration of degraded habitats and landscapes, in order to address climate change impacts and increase resilience to climate change
- (X/31, paragraph 14(b)) enhance scientific knowledge to support the development of adaptive management plans and to improve management effectiveness of protected areas for addressing impacts from climate change biodiversity
- (X/31, paragraph 14(d)) identify areas that are important for both biodiversity conservation and for climate change adaptation and protect, restore and effectively manage and/or include them in protected areas systems to increase co-benefits for biodiversity and for addressing climate change and human well-being
- (X/31, paragraph 14(f)) further develop tools applicable for use by relevant national authorities and stakeholders for the planning of protected area networks and adaptation measures
- There are a number of Aichi Biodiversity Targets, part of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period, which Parties are working towards translating into national biodiversity strategies and action plans that are relevant to climate change adaptation:
Target 10: By 2015, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimised, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.
Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
Target 14: By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.
Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.
The CBD Climate Change Adaptation Database provides web-based guidance on the integration of biodiversity within adaptation planning, by gathering information tools and case studies from a number of relevant partners. Its purpose is to support Parties as they continue to integrate climate change impacts and response activities through their implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The following CBD Technical Series documents are relevant to climate change adaptation and mitigation:
- Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2009). Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Report of the Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change. Montreal, Technical Series No. 41, 126 pages.
- Campbell,A., Kapos, V., Scharlemann, J. P.W., Bubb, P., Chenery, A., Coad, L., Dickson, B., Doswald, N., Khan, M. S. I., Kershaw, F. and Rashid, M. (2009). Review of the Literature on the Links between Biodiversity and Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. Technical Series No. 42, 124 pages.
- Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010). Biodiversity and Climate Change: Achieving the 2020 Targets. Abstracts of Posters Presented at the 14th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 10-21 May 2010, Nairobi, Kenya. Technical Series No. 51. Montreal, SCBD, 161 pages.
Parties to the CBD appoint National Focal Points (click here for contact details).
Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
The CMS (also known as the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an inter-governmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
Building off Resolution 9.7 ‘Climate Change Impacts on Migratory Species’, a draft resolution (resolution 10.19 ‘Migratory Species Conservation in the Light of Climate Change’) is being considered for the next CMS Conference of Parties (COP) in November 2011. The draft resolution calls for Parties to:
- Develop guidelines on measures needed to assist migratory species adapt to climate change
- Employ adaptive management and the ecosystem approach in addressing climate change impacts, and to monitor the effectiveness of their conservation actions in order to guide on-going efforts
- Strengthen research on the interactions of climate change and migratory species
- Develop and implement long term monitoring regimes for analysing the impact of climate change on migratory species
- Ensure individual sites are sufficiently large and varied in species composition, habitat and topography and strengthen physical and ecological connectivity between sites to improve the resilience of migratory species and their habitats
The website of the CMS Working Group on Climate Change provides links to these documents and to useful presentations from the expert members of the working group.
Parties to the CMS appoint National Focal Points (click here for links to the contact details of the focal points and other CMS bodies).
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) – called the “Ramsar Convention” – is an inter-governmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.
Building on previous resolutions (VIII.3 ‘Climate change and wetlands: impacts, adaptation and mitigation’ (2002) and X.24 ‘Climate change and wetlands’ (2008)) that recognised the potential implications of climate change for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, a draft resolution is being prepared for the next COP in Bucharest in 2012 (‘Climate change and wetlands: implications for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’).
The resolution calls for Parties to:
- Maintain the ecological character of wetlands in the face of climate change and to promote the restoration of degraded wetlands to enhance their resilience and their ability to contribution to adaptation for humans
- Develop and implement policies that promote opportunities to take advantage of the regulatory services already provided by wetlands to global climate system, human livelihoods, alleviating poverty and meeting biodiversity goals
- To make full use of the existing Ramsar guidance on the wise use of wetlands which is applicable to tackling some of the threats imposed on wetlands by climate change
Other documentation associated with the convention is available here
Parties to the Ramsar Convention appoint National Focal Points for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) (click here for contact details).
BirdLife climate change documents
BirdLife International has prepared the following documents that are relevant to climate change:
H. Reid, Phillips, J., and Heath, M. (2009) Natural Resilience: Healthy ecosystems as climate shock insurance. International Institute for Environment and Development briefing – a review of integration of environmental considerations into NAPA projects
BirdLife International Action Pledge to the Nairobi Work Programme (2010) Partners with Nature – Lessons learnt and experiences from the BirdLife Partnership on how healthy ecosystems are helping the world’s most vulnerable adapt to climate change
– the Nairobi Work Programme of the UNFCCC brings together Parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to disseminate knowledge and information on adaptation provided by partners of the programme as they work towards their Action Pledges to the programme.