How landscapes can help solve climate change - By Nature Conservancy
As part of our efforts to support a strong international climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, The Nature Conservancy is working hard to ensure that the agreement accelerates land use sector investments that mitigate climate change and establishes a scientifically robust accounting system to verify results and enhance confidence in the sector.
The way we use our lands is at the heart of the challenges associated with climate and development. By protecting and restoring forests and wetlands, and improving how we manage working lands such as timber forests, croplands and rangelands, we can enable landscapes worldwide to absorb and store huge amounts of carbon while strengthening ecosystems and improving livelihoods.
As COP21 heads into the middle phase of the negotiations, the focus has shifted from aspirational rhetoric to the specific details of the agreement. This can be a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but it's an opportune time to step back and remember that these details will actually affect the lives of millions of people around the world.
Last weekend, the Conservancy had a major presence at the influential two-day Global Landscapes Forum, held in parallel with the COP. Thousands of negotiators, world leaders, civil society groups, business leaders and researchers heard loud and clear that economic growth thrives at the intersection of strong science, effective governance, community engagement and innovative finance models.
We are working with many governments, including the U.S., China, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia; partnering with indigenous peoples from Australia to Africa; hosting discussions with civil society partners, financiers and corporations; and showcasing the latest tools and technologies that are being deployed in the field.
On Saturday, I moderated a forum with indigenous leaders from around the world who presented their strategies for effective management of their territorial landscapes and resources. Conservancy staff also presented scalable lessons from our on-the-ground community engagement work, including innovative technology used in our work to reduce deforestation (REDD+) in Mexico. We also highlighted subnational jurisdictions that are already playing their part - such as California's carbon market, a pioneering program to ensure nature-based climate solutions reach their potential.
Sunday began with a Jane Goodall chimp call, as Mark Tercek shared the stage with 10 African nations to launch a coalition to conserve more than 10 million hectares of forests. Mark also moderated a great discussion with senior government representatives and land experts in charge of green growth strategies in Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico - our top-priority geographies for advancing natural climate solutions.
We also launched new communication materials, including a Conservancy-sponsored special report on climate by The Economist (pdf available upon request), a short film and our Global Lands Report and a new Global Solutions website.
The weekend ended with a dinner hosted by the Conservancy and the UN Foundation, where 30 leaders from business, finance, civil society and government heard our vision of how lands can be better used and conserved in the decades ahead.
We have a momentous opportunity to transform our collective futures. By investing more deeply in science and community voices, we can create a new conservation paradigm that works with economic forces to benefit nature and people. There are few greater opportunities.