COP 21: 16 Latin American countries call for the Inclusion of Protected Areas in Climate Change Strategies
Last week in Lima, Peru, during the Council meeting of REDPARQUES –the Latin American Technical Cooperation Network on Protected Areas –, 16 Latin-American countries adopted a Declaration on protected areas as natural solutions to climate change for COP 21, the conference of the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) that will take place in Paris at the end of this year. In the Declaration, countries offer to intensify and improve the establishment, management and design of protected areas according to climate change criteria, and call for the recognition, in the UN climate regime’s discussions and commitments, of protected areas as effective strategies to face climate change.
This Declaration will be presented at COP 21 to highlight the importance of protected areas as the most effective strategies to conserve natural ecosystems and ecosystem services that provide the ‘green infrastructure’ needed for implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation actions. The Declaration highlights the role of protected areas in sustaining food, water and energy security, and recognises the Amazon as one of the a key biomes for the provision of essential ecosystem services that safeguard the social, cultural and economic interests of society as a whole, and in particular those of indigenous peoples and local communities.
Peruvian Minister of Environment and current COP President Mr. Manuel Pulgar Vidal welcomed the Declaration and stressed the importance of recognizing the fundamental role protected areas play in controlling the consequences of climate change and capturing carbon, and the need for designating “protected areas in shared ecosystems”, such as in the “bordering regions of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil.” Minister Pulgar Vidal stressed the significance of adjacent protected areas in shared country borders as effective mechanisms for adequate and sustainable management of shared river basins of global importance, such as the Amazon.
The declaration “is a very important step towards a much needed integration of protected areas in the global climate change planning and finance regime, and a crucial contribution for strengthening the role of nature-based strategies within the UNFCCC,” said Sandra Charity leader of WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative.
REDPARQUES is the Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation on National Parks, other Protected Areas, and Wild Flora and Fauna, founded in 1983. It brings together the Directors of Protected Area Systems of 19 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The following countries signed the Declaration: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, France (French Guiana), Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela. These were all the members present at the REDPARQUES Council Meeting, which took place in Lima last week (August 12 to 14).
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) will arguably be the most important climate change summit of this decade and will take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.
The WWF Living Amazon Initiative supports REDPARQUES in the implementation of the Amazon Vision Project ‘Protected Areas, Natural Solutions to Climate Change’ (NASCC) that seeks to increase resilience of the Amazon Biome in the face of climate change and other threats through an effective and integrated management of protected areas systems across the region.
For further information, please contact:
Luz Zuniga, Communications Officer NASCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Analiz Vergara, Policy Officer NASCC: email@example.com
Julia Gorricho, Coordinator NASCC: firstname.lastname@example.org