Climate Change

Climate change has become one of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century. Major scientific findings have confirmed that the impacts of climate change on biodiversity are already real and happening – from the ecosystems to the species level. At the same time, climate change is intrinsically linked with the question of energy production and supply, which has recently emerged at the forefront of sustainable development. Integrating biodiversity into the energy sector has become increasingly important. 

The ELP has worked jointly with partner organizations and IUCN regional offices on climate change issues, in particular climate change adaptation and REDD+.

Climate change adaptation

Global biodiversity faces severe threats from climate change in the form of rising temperatures, floods, droughts, severe weather incidents, deforestation and desertification. The impacts of climate change are particularly devastating for poor and vulnerable people especially dependent on their environment and natural resources for sustainable development. As it is already too late to rely entirely on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to safeguard biodiversity and livelihoods from climate impacts, governments and institutions will need to develop adaptive capacity in order to ensure resilience of humans and natural resources.

Addressing this challenge, the ELC and the IUCN Eastern and Southern African Regional Office in conjunction with authorities and stakeholders at a national level in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia undertook an effort in building national capacity to adapt biodiversity and natural resource laws and governance to climate change, as well as to identify and enhance synergies in international biodiversity and natural resource law and policy.

Together with the IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica, the ELC has been implementing a project entitled “Climate Change Governance Capacity: Building regionally and nationally tailored ecosystem-based adaptation in Mesoamerica” in Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Mexico since 2010.

The project is to develop climate change governance capacity in the water sector through applied research, awareness-raising and increased public participation. Major progress has been made in the past years on field demonstration of climate change adaptation measures in project countries.  


REDD+ is a broad topic that touches on a wide variety of laws and legal development needs, among them REDD+ readiness and program implementation, forest and land management, resource tenure, benefit calculation, carbon level measurement, and more.

The ELC has been working on REDD and REDD+ related legal issues since 2009. After the successful launch of the publication “Legal Frameworks for REDD: Design and Implementation at the National Level”, the ELC also worked with the global legislators’ organisation GLOBE International in 2011 to prepare the “GLOBE Climate and Forest Legislation Study” – a detailed series of studies on REDD+ legal frameworks in four key forested developing countries – Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Mexico.

Lately the ELC has been supporting the IUCN Global Forest and Climate Change Programme to create a global knowledge base around pro-poor legal frameworks for REDD+.