Dr. Risa Smith is an ecologist and current Co-Chair of Protected Areas Climate Change Specialist Group, World Commission on Protected Areas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (WCPA) ...
IUCN WCPA Climate Change Specialist Group
Overview and description
The WCPA Climate Change Specialist Group focuses on the role of protected and conserved areas in mitigating and adapting to climate change while simultaneously addressing biodiversity loss and human ...The WCPA Climate Change Specialist Group focuses on the role of protected and conserved areas in mitigating and adapting to climate change while simultaneously addressing biodiversity loss and human well-being. We do this by preparing guidelines and publications, coordinating advocacy efforts, and influencing national and international processes related to climate change and biodiversity protection. The Specialist Group works in both the terrestrial and marine realms.
Dr Risa SMITH
Dr. Risa Smith is an ecologist and current Co-Chair of Protected Areas Climate Change Specialist Group, World Commission on Protected Areas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (WCPA). Some of her recent activities for WCPA include; leading a Best Practices Guidelines for Climate Change Mitigation in Protected Areas; representing WCPA on IUCN’s Nature-Based Solutions Expert Group; participating in the IUCN Climate Change Task Force; preparing briefings and positions on Protected Areas and Climate Change; participating in an Horizon Scan of emerging issues in protected areas management; leading the protected areas stream for the Summit on Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Canada; and publishing a report on Enhancing Canada’s Climate Change Ambitions with Natural Climate Solutions, including a related story map. Her most recent publications focus on the importance of tackling the biodiversity loss and climate change crises together, and understanding the role of protected and conserved areas in climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Ms Lauren WENZEL
Within this overarching mission, the Climate Change Specialist Group has 3 strategic areas of work:
- International Influence
We work to influence international decisions, particularly at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the associated Paris Climate Agreement, UN Convention to Combat Desertification. We do this through lobbying Parties to those conventions, preparing technical and policy briefings and information notes for meetings. This includes promoting decisions that recognize the biodiversity/climate change nexus and protection of high biodiversity/carbon dense places such as primary forests, blue carbon, climate refugia, climate stabilization areas. Past and present achievements include: peer reviewed publications, briefing papers and information notes for UNFCCC and CBD meetings; participation in IUCN delegations at the CBD and UNFCCC. It is our intention to become a key partner in the new IUCN Climate Crisis Commission.
- Developing Tools to Enable the Incorporation of Climate Change considerations into Protected and Conserved Area management, planning and decision-making
We develop Best Practices Guidelines for Incorporation of Climate Change in Protected and Conserved Areas Management and Policy Decisions and communication products that promote Protected and Conserved Areas as one important tool for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Current projects include; Best Practices Guidelines for Incorporation of Climate Change Mitigation in Protected Areas Management, Policy and Decision-Making; Marine Protected Areas Climate Assessment Tool; Climate Vulnerability Index; Survey of Protected Areas Managers and Decision-Makers; Story Map of Protected Areas and Climate Change. Past achievements have included Adapting to Climate Change: Guidance for Protected Area Managers and Planners.
- National and Regional Implementation of Policies and Practices Related to the Climate Change/Biodiversity/Human Well-Being Nexus.
Specialist Group members participate in national and regional efforts to promote the protected areas/biodiversity/climate change nexus. Past successes have included: REDPARQUES declaration; North American tri-government initiatives; Latin American Parks Congress. Current efforts include participation in: MPA exercises at the national and international levels; advisory groups in many countries related to implementation of Nature-based Solutions; preparation of national reports; networking to share successes and challenges.