Promoting healthy ecosystems to build resilience to climate change


ADAPTATION in Copenhagen- what are we as conservationists fighting for….

It’s been a long road to Copenhagen and here we are and although there is still a long road ahead it feels like certain things are potentially getting closer.

Civil society has made huge “in roads” into the negotiations in that adaptation is being recognised and the fight for adequate and accessible finance, recognition of vulnerable countries and people and the role that ecosystems and biodiversity play in adaptation of people is slowly being won!!

So why are these elements important:

• In the past vulnerable developing countries have had difficulty in accessing finance from developed countries and multilateral funds and often a great burden has been placed on developing countries whilst trying to access funds and implement projects.

• Developed countries have historically been contributing largely to the emission of GHG’s, now we are locked into inevitable consequences and negative impacts to which we need to try and adapt! For this we need finance, capacity building and technologies to assist the process of adaptation. We also need a recognition of the value of local and traditional knowledge that can help this process.

• Those countries most vulnerable such as least developed countries, small islands and those prone to further droughts, floods etc especially in Africa need assistance urgently. We need to leverage funds and support for these countries NOW!

• Ecosystems underpin life on earth, we are part of these ecosystems and we rely on the services these ecosystems provide such as food, fresh water, shelter, etc. They also support livelihoods, help buffer us from predicted impacts of climate change such as floods, coastal storms etc and they provide us with the diversity of species to continue life as it is. It is therefore imperative we protect these systems as they also store carbon and help us mitigate climate change. We also need to integrate ecosystem restoration and protection as part of an overall adaptation strategy to ensure the services we depend on are secured in a way that supports the needs of vulnerable people and promotes biodiversity conservation.

So what may take us closer along the road:

• There is a lot of discussion about the Global Environment Fund (GEF) fund and improving access through a reform process which involves more transparency, better engagement with civil society and a more expedient process

• We await outcomes on discussion about the Kyoto Protocol’s adaptation fund and there is a planned replenishment of the Least Development Country Fund (LDCF)and Special Climate Change Fund(SCCF) which support adaptation activities on the ground under the GEF

• There is recognition within current text of the need for vulnerable countries to be assisted urgently for adaptation, whether it is adopted remains to be seen

• Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation is being discussed and will hopefully be included in a future agreement. This provides a critical link between mitigation as the forest/ecosystems we protect store carbon and can also provide us with the ability to adapt through their ecosystem services.

• Ecosystem services and their contribution to resilience to the impacts of climate change has been included in the current negotiating text of the climate agreement, but final decisions on what remains in the text are still being made.

• Again we are fighting to keep as much of this recognition of the role of ecosystems in supporting people to adapt in the negotiated text as possible.

Let’s keep supporting the good work our partners are all doing in implementing adaptation actions on the ground and continue to feed this information to our negotiators. The Climate Action Partnership of which CI is a partner aims to do this through our work.

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Posted: 12/11/2009 (3:45:21 AM)

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