With time running out, global challenge requires global solutions; Nations must forge a new cooperation at UNFCCC talks in South Africa
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Arlington VA – The window of opportunity to halt climate
change is rapidly closing, and demands urgent, collective, creative leadership
by nations at U.N. climate talks in Durban to avoid dangerous and potentially
irreversible consequences to life on Earth.
That is among the key
guidance that Conservation International (CI), with a
delegation of scientific, economic, social and policy experts from developed and
developing nations around the globe, will bring to world leaders meeting in
Durban South Africa from November 28 to December 9th at the 17th Conference of
the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In Durban, where negotiators
are due to make difficult decisions about the future of the emissions-limiting
Kyoto Protocol, which will reach the end of
its first commitment period in 2012, much of the focus will be on the future of
the Protocol and on a timetable to deliver a legally binding, comprehensive
global climate treaty in some future year. However, Conservation International
believes that meaningful progress can and will also be made this year, if
immediate agreements are achieved in at least four key areas:
A mandate for a new, legal climate agreement with meaningful
commitments from emitting nations. While countries don't have to conclude a new
climate treaty in Durban, they must negotiate with the explicit intention of
moving to a new legal framework for all countries.
Detailed decisions on REDD+ that provide clear, common and
rigorous rules for countries so that they can implement, report, and measure
REDD+ action in a way that ensures it will be a sound investment.
Guidelines to operationalize the Green Climate Fund,
conceptually created by the Cancun Agreements, that create a financial blueprint
for how climate money is managed, with allocation for adaptation to comprise at
least 50% of climate funding.
Design and creation of an Adaptation Committee with strong
representation from developing and least developed nations, whose function will
be to support international adaptation action into the future and establish
links to finance mechanisms that fund and sustain adaptation
"We absolutely need a comprehensive climate treaty soon, which puts climate
mitigation and adaptation high on the global policy, development and economic
agendas. But in these key details, Parties in Durban can take concrete action
this year, creating the enabling conditions that will allow REDD+ to become the
transformative mitigation and conservation mechanism we know it can be," said
Rebecca Chacko, CI's Senior Director for international climate
With deep expertise in the emissions reduction scheme known as REDD+ (Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus conservation) and
in climate adaptation, Conservation International and its partners have worked
to implement local, subnational and national-level pilot projects on four
continents for years. Among CI's primary activities have been REDD-readiness
training workshops and consultations in 14 countries since 2007 for governments
and indigenous communities; economic and scientific modeling of deforestation
and REDD+ interventions to predict impacts and determine baselines; and the
piloting of multiple ecosystem-based adaptation projects in nations vulnerable
to climate change, which were submitted as successful examples to the UNFCCC's
Nairobi Work Program.
On policy for REDD+, Conservation International stresses the importance of
Parties agreeing to decisions on sources of financing that are adequate,
predictable and sustainable, and which allow for the inclusion of public, market
and innovative sources.
"Realistically, the $100 billion per year promised by developed countries by
2020 is just a starting point. Estimates indicate that $25-30 billion dollars
per year will be needed just to reduce emissions from deforestation. Much more
will be needed to adapt to climate impacts. These may sound like large sums,
especially in these economically challenging times, but REDD+ is one of the most
immediate and cost-effective ways to reduce global emissions, slow climate
change, and ensure that forests can provide life-supporting services to people
and biodiversity," said Chacko.
"Plus, according to the most recent report of the International Energy
Agency, every dollar we fail to invest in this mitigation measures now will cost
us more than four dollars in the future to address the consequences. In this
light, the best way we see to achieve the scale of funding required is through a
combination of public and market sources of financing for REDD+."
ensure REDD+ is a safe investment for these various sources, Conservation
International advises Parties in Durban to establish common approaches in three
Reference Levels: We need guidelines for national Reference
Levels that are clear & rigorous, to make REDD+ activities a sound
MRV: We need clear guidance on how countries Measure, Report
and Verify emission reductions so that investors can be confident that REDD+
activities are producing real mitigation results.
Safeguards: We need guidance so that countries can provide
clear information on REDD+ so we know it will be socially and environmentally
beneficial, while ensuring the rights and active participation of indigenous
peoples and local communities.
On the issue of the Kyoto Protocol and emissions reductions, Dr. Fred
Boltz, CI's Senior Vice President of Global Initiatives and Climate Change Lead
said, "There's no question, the Kyoto Protocol is important and Parties
should do everything possible to preserve it and avoid any backslide in Durban.
However even the Protocol will not be able to achieve necessary reductions on
its own. We must work toward delivering a comprehensive climate treaty that
holds all nations accountable to lower emissions targets, with respect for
common but differentiated responsibility, meaning developed countries and
historic emitters have a greater responsibility."
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CI's Vice President for International Policy
and a former environmental minister for Costa Rica emphasized, "There
is no time left for hard-line positions or absolutes. Climate change is a global
problem that requires global solutions. So it is essential for Parties to come
ready to roll up their sleeves, demonstrate real leadership, and find common
Agreeing on that point, Dr. Boltz added, "We simply cannot
keep kicking this can down the road. Climate change is not waiting for political
"Every year that countries put this off, the potential consequences escalate.
The best available science warns that the countdown toward irreversible climate
change has already begun and suggests that we have but five years left to change
course. So this is the decade we must address this problem. Not in 2020. Failure
to do so would be irresponsible."
"There are solutions at hand and self-interests that should motivate us to
act," stressed Rodriguez. "It is my great hope that countries
leverage the good will they rebuilt in Cancun last year, and deliver substantive
decisions in Durban that allow us to maximize these solutions for the good of
all nations. Our futures are tied. These are among the most important decisions
we will make for our children."
Learn more at: www.conservation.org/COP17
more information, contact:
Kim McCabe, Senior Director, News + Media
Relations, Conservation International
office: +1-703-341-2504 / mobile:
+1-571-223-0455 / email@example.com
Olson, Corporate Communications Director, Conservation International
Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui, International Media Manager, Conservation
office : +1 703-341-2471; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mildenhall, Director Operations & Communications, Conservation South Africa;
Note to editors:
Conservation International (CI) —
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field
demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for
nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded
in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and 900 employees
working in nearly 25 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around
the world. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@ConservationOrg).
Conservation South Africa (CSA) - CSA is committed to
helping society to adopt a more sustainable approach to development, one that
considers and values nature at every turn. Over the last decade CSA has
demonstrated Conservation International's mission of delivering human well-being
through conservation of healthy ecosystems and the goods and services they
produce. CSA is a member of the CI network, which has offices in more than 30
countries, more than 1,000 partner organisations, and thousands of projects
worldwide. Visit for more information: www.conservation.org/southafrica