There is a growing recognition in discussions here in Poznan of the role that nature can play in helping people adjust to the impacts of climate change. Governments and environmental and development groups at the United Nations climate change conference are increasingly supporting such an approach.
IUCN and WWF, along with other environmental and development organizations, have established the Ecosystems and Livelihoods Adaptation Network (ELAN) to support the effort.
The network will link up organizations which help people suffering the effects of climate change on the ground to share knowledge on how to cope with it. It will also work at a national level to encourage governments to make sure their policies recognize that looking after nature can help people cope with climate change.
"Establishing the network is an excellent start, but there's still an enormous amount of work that needs to be done," says Neville Ash, Head of IUCN's Ecosystem Management Programme. "There is a growing need for adaptation to climate change in some of the most vulnerable places in the world, including small islands, arid and coastal areas and mountains."
IUCN hopes to see the roadblocks to a meaningful agreement on fighting climate change cast aside, especially given the recent US election outcome. Climate change is already affecting people and nature. There is an urgent need to reach agreement on an international climate change framework by 2009, in preparation for the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
At the last UN summit in Bali, the negotiations reached a deadlock, crystallizing the debate on the issue of equity between developed and developing countries. Success in Poznan is key to reaching the agreement the world needs in Copenhagen next year.
- Protecting forests to combat climate change. Forests can help store carbon and lead to a reduction in greenhouse gases, helping to cool our planet. They are also important for conserving species and providing livelihoods for natural resource dependent local communities.
- Equity between the North and South. Developed countries must recognize the damage they have done to the global environment through greenhouse gas emissions. They must support developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
- Nature is our best ally in the face of climate change. Healthy environments provide means for people to make a living, store carbon and other greenhouse gases, and can reduce the impacts of climate change-related natural hazards, such as increased flooding, higher temperatures and rising sea levels.
Neville Ash, Head of IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme, m +41 79 856 3348, e firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Horsley, Media Relations Officer, IUCN, m +41 79 528 3486, e email@example.com