IUCN Urges Need to Link Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change

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The seven elected Chairs of IUCN’s Expert Commissions have issued a statement emphasising the pressing need to link biodiversity loss and climate change, while highlighting the shrinking window of time needed to address associated challenges.

IUCN Commissions are networks of scientists and experts providing IUCN and its Members, including the CIC, with sound know-how and policy advice to drive conservation and sustainable development.

The CIC has worked in close alignment with IUCN Commissions in recent years, particularly through the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) for which the President of the CIC Policy and Law Division, Shane Mahoney, acts as Vice Chair. IUCN SULi is a joint initiative of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) that looks to address the overexploitation of wild species while supporting equitable models of sustainable use that meet human needs and priorities.

Representing over 15,000 stakeholders, the Commission Chairs have issued a call to action to “adopt a holistic approach that recognises the interdependence of the climate and biodiversity crises” as part of the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference COP28.

Four key elements have been issued to guide the development and implementation of solutions linked to biodiversity loss and climate change:

  • Integration
  • Ecosystem Integrity
  • Transformation
  • Urgency

This suggested approach – and indeed IUCN’s stance on biodiversity loss and climate change – is well reflected in the CIC 2030 Programme, which is currently under development.

Designed to support the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the Programme will provide a roadmap for the CIC up until the end of this decade. Recognised within its contents is the fact that climate change is one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss, together with land use change, invasive species, pollution and overexploitation.

With this acting as a foundation, the CIC’s work on the road ahead will target the root causes of biodiversity loss using an integrated One Health approach, tackling global challenges with holistic considerations of the needs of ecosystem health and human well-being.

Director General of the CIC, Sebastian Winkler, and the Director General of IUCN, Dr. Grethel Aguilar, met in Switzerland last week to explore potential areas of collaboration in relation to the Programme, as well as the wider work of both organisations.

In particular, discussions were held on how the CIC could render support to the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in 2025, which will be hosted in the United Arab Emirates.

The full details of the CIC 2030 Programme will be published next year, following its adoption as part of the 70th General Assembly in Cascais (18-21 April 2024).