IUCN India, in collaboration with the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, initiated the first conference on Climate Change Law and Governance in South Asia from 20 – 21 August, 2010 in New Delhi, India. The forum sought to provide a platform for informed discussion by bringing together leading policy and decision makers from India and abroad to explore how the mechanism of law could be used to tackle the growing threat of climate change.
Speaking at the workshop, IUCN President Dr. Ashok Khosla laid out the unique structure of IUCN and the important role it can play in developing and implementing policies to tackle climate change, progression towards sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity.
The Chair of IUCN CEL, Ms Sheila Abed, then provided an introduction to CEL and its BRIC initiative. BRIC, in the context of the climate change discourse, refers to the emerging countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China that have been grouped together on the basis of the role their economies and governments play globally, and their projected influence for the near future. She stated that CEL was resolved to prioritize a ‘BRICs Dialogue on Climate Change, Sustainable Energy and Biodiversity’ through a new initiative that would involve workshops in each of the four countries.
China and India, among the BRIC countries, have developed climate change policy and are taking measures to address associated critical issues including energy efficiency, renewable energy, forest restoration, economic incentives along with regulatory frameworks for controlling emissions and air pollution in general, according to Ms Patti Moore, Head, Regional Environmental Law Programme. Discussing these measures, she emphasized on the need to include governance into the adaptation and mitigation discourse and suggested adopting a systems approach to governance. For instance, the inclusion of a governance mission in India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, which is presently bereft of such a measure, may provide more gainful opportunities in addressing the issue.
Noting the ability of nature in providing answers to many pressing issues affecting humankind today, Dr. William Jackson, Deputy Director General of IUCN, elaborated on the Union’s efforts to include biodiversity concerns in adaptation and mitigation policies and practice. In doing so, he cited the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (or REDD plus), a mechanism that includes a range of measures to reduce emissions of green house gases. It comprises emission reduction mechanisms from forests including from deforestation and forest degradation, and brings in the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries and links between governance in ensuring an effective REDD regime and the co-benefits for biodiversity and adaptation.
The event concluded with plans to continue this successful dialogue and host the next in Brazil.