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Background

At its fifth meeting, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD highlighted the risks of climate change, in particular, to coral reefs (decision V/3) and to forest ecosystems (decision V/4), and drew attention to the serious impacts of biodiversity loss on these systems and their associated livelihoods. The cross-cutting issue on biodiversity and climate change was included in the work under the Convention in 2004 through decision VII/15 of the Conference of Parties (COP).

In 2001, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) established an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) to carry out an assessment of the interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change. The report of this expert group is published as Technical Series No. 10.

At its seventh meeting, the COP encouraged parties to take measures to manage ecosystems so as to maintain their resilience to extreme climate events and to help mitigate and adapt to climate change (decision VII/15). SBSTTA was requested to provide advice or guidance for promoting synergy among activities to address climate change, including activities to combat desertification and land degradation, and activities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and invited the Conference of the Parties to the Untied Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to collaborate with the CBD to this end. Hence, in 2006, the AHTEG on Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change produced a Technical Report providing such guidance (Technical Series No. 25).

In 2006, at its eighth meeting, the COP highlighted the importance of integrating biodiversity considerations into all relevant national policies, programmes and plans in response to climate change, and to rapidly develop tools for the implementation of biodiversity conservation activities that contribute to climate change adaptation. The COP also noted the need to identify mutually supportive activities to be conducted by the secretariats of the three Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, UNCCD, and CBD), parties and relevant organizations (decision VIII/30).

At its ninth meeting, the COP, through decision IX/16, established the Second AHTEG on Biodiversity and Climate Change, with a mandate to develop scientific and technical advice on biodiversity, in so far as it relates to climate change and decision 1/CP.13 of the COP of the UNFCCC on the Bali Action Plan as well as its Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change so as to support the enhanced implementation of synergies. The final report of the Second AHTEG has been published as Technical Series No. 41. In addition, Technical Series No. 42: Review of the Literature on the Links between Biodiversity and Climate Change – Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation, provided important input to the AHTEG process.

In annex II to decision VIII/10, the Conference of the Parties decided to undertake an in-depth review of the cross-cutting issue at its tenth meeting. The Executive Secretary prepared a note for submission to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) at its fourteenth meeting based on national reports received and information gathered from organizations and reports submitted under other relevant international processes.

The in-depth review revealed that, with regard to the implementation of activities by Parties, the links between biodiversity and climate change are well recognized. There are a number of national and regional studies on impacts and vulnerability. However, when considering the implementation of programmes and activities addressing both climate change and biodiversity, Parties still face a number of obstacles, especially when considering climate change mitigation. A review of implementation of activities reveals good progress with regards to activities to be implemented by the Secretariat alone. However, implementation of activities in collaboration with partners has been limited.

At its tenth meeting, the COP, through decision X/33, invited Parties to, inter alia:
  • address the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystem services and biodiversity-based livelihoods,
  • implement ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation and mitigation, and
  • enhance the benefits for, and avoid negative impacts on, biodiversity from reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
The COP also requested the Executive Secretary to, inter alia: The decision also includes activities for the Executive Secretary to undertake through the Joint Liaison Group of the three Rio conventions.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme