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Why talk about protected areas in the UN negotiations?

Posted on June, 15 2015

Delegates from around the world are now together in Bonn, Germany, at a meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in preparation for the Climate Change Conference COP 21 that will take place in Paris at the end of this year.
The COP 21 will seek establish a new global climate agreement and countries are discussing its possible content. The main issues on the table revolve around slowing down carbon emissions to limit the rise in planetary temperature and preparing people and nature to adapt to unavoidable climate change. 
For the Amazon Conservation Vision projects, led by REDPARQUES and, in particular the project ‘Protected Areas, Natural Solutions to Climate Change’ ( NASCC) funded by the BMUB, these UN negotiations are a key opportunity to start discussions on how to include Protected Areas in climate change planning and finance at the international level, with a particular emphasis on key biomes of the world such as the Amazon. These meetings bring attention to the fact that the world needs healthy ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change and at the same time highlight the need to conserve and manage nature in a way that makes it less vulnerable to current and future changes in climate.
The case for Protected Areas as a nature-based solution to climate change is quite clear when talking about mitigation: forests are well-known to sequester and store carbon, but the fact is that Amazon Protected Areas can also help regulate local climate, buffer extreme climate events and sustain provision of key elements such as water in the context of climate change. These important climate adaptation functions of Protected Areas are less evident.
Although there is not a specific mention of Protected Areas in most of the negotiations at the UNFCCC, “several countries and NGOs are interested in integrated natural solutions to climate change as well in the possibility of creating spaces to discuss strategies such as Protected Areas at these climate talks”, reported from Bonn Analiz Vergara, WWF Living Amazon Initiative policy adviser. Protected Areas are fundamental ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) strategies, and initiatives such as the Amazon Vision led by the Latin American Protected Areas Directors Network (RedParques) seek to strengthen the role of Protected Areas through adaptive management, connectivity and regional cooperation, stressing the importance of political support to include protected areas in climate action.
A fair, ambitious and science-based agreement coming out of Paris would seek to keep planet warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, and ensure the most vulnerable communities around the world have the means to adapt to current and future changes. With those goals in mind, the world must start paying greater attention to the conservation and management of the green infrastructure that is already there in the form of ecosystems, in order to mitigate climate impacts and ensure the benefits nature provides for communities and economies can continue in the future.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn Climate Change Conference will take place from 1-11 June 2015, in Bonn, Germany. The forty-second sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 42) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 42), and the ninth meeting of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-9) will convene. (WWF GCEI)
This is another contribution to the Amazon Conservation Vision developed by the Amazon Countries under the CDB framework´s program related to Protected Areas (CBD – PoWPA).
To get more information about the Amazon Vision and NASCC Project click here:
© Mark Lutes

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© Mark Luter