A region facing the challenge of adapting to climate change

01 September 2011 | Article

Central America and the Caribbean, two regions with rich biodiversity and a high level of endemism, are increasingly facing challenges coming from the impacts of climate change, says Grethel Aguilar, IUCN's Regional Director for Meso America.

One of the main issues discussed at the 18th IUCN Regional Conservation Forum for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean will be the development of new strategies to adapt to climate change while increasing sustainability and reducing local people's vulnerability and poverty.

Through its three pillars - membership, secretariat and commissions, IUCN's programme will help strengthen efforts to conserve and enhance biodiversity as a key focus of environmental stability and social security, based on a shared vision of fair and equitable distribution of the goods and services generated by ecosystems.

Similar to the 2009-2012 programme, we will continue to seek nature-based solutions to the biggest challenges related to climate change. This will be achieved not only through the conservation of existing protected areas, but also through the regeneration of ecosystems. This is the only way to address critical issues such as food security and human livelihood, taking into account the possible increased variability and intensity of threatening weather conditions or sea level rise over large coastal areas and island territories in the future.

We live in a complex and highly volatile world, which is vulnerable to the whims and expectations of the economy. This requires us to increase our effectiveness and enhance our ability to demonstrate the positive impact of our work. The forum of IUCN Members in the region represents an opportunity to realign our forces and prove the value of alternative development, in harmony with the environment and responding to our current concerns such as the reduction of our ecological footprint, sustainable production and the fair and equitable sharing of environmental goods.