IUCN took part in the Talanoa Dialogue at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (30 April - 10 May).
The Talanoa Dialogue, convened by the UNFCCC COP Presidency, Fiji, aimed to take stock of the collective efforts made by countries to date in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of their future Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Structured around 3 questions – Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? – IUCN delivered a statement at the session on "Where are we?", in which it highlighted the significant risks that climate change was currently posing not only to vulnerable nations and communities, but also to the world’s ecosystems and called for early and ambitious action on climate change, involving all levels and sectors of society.
In his intervention, Dr Sandeep Sengupta – Global Coordinator of IUCN's climate change portfolio – recalled the outcomes of the World Heritage Outlook report, which found that the number of natural World Heritage Sites threatened by climate change has nearly doubled over the last 3 years, and findings that indicate that more than 80% of the ecological processes that form the foundation for life on Earth are being impacted by climate change today.
At the same time, IUCN drew particular attention to the critical role that conserving, restoring and sustainably managing the world’s ecosystems can play in providing practical nature-based solutions for both climate change mitigation and adaptation, as evidenced in recent analyses by IUCN and its members. An analysis of NDCs showed that even though 77% of NDCs submitted to date contained references to forests, only 20% of those include quantifiable targets, and only 8% include targets expressed in terms CO2 reduction or avoidance, suggesting that considerable potential remains for countries to further enhance the ambition of their future NDCs.
Further, in its intervention, IUCN highlighted the Bonn Challenge, an initiative that IUCN has championed in recent years as a practical nature-based solution. This is a multi-partner initiative which aims to bring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2030. Estimates suggest that achieving the Bonn Challenge target could sequester between 1 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 each year and generate annual benefits worth US$ 170 billion from other ecosystem services - a real opportunity for unlocking the untapped mitigation potential of ecosystems.
Lastly, IUCN took the opportunity to draw everyone’s attention to the vital role that local communities – particularly women and indigenous peoples – are playing as stewards of these valuable natural resources on the ground. As they are the ones most often at the frontline of climate change impact and action, it is critical that their needs and concerns be always taken into account.
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