IUCN sends open letter to the G8

07 July 2009 | News story

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) calls on Heads of State to consider the following points related to climate change, the economic crisis and Africa.

IUCN encourages Heads of State to take into account the Carta di Siracusa adopted at the G8 Environmental Summit held on 22-25 April 2009, which highlights the fundamental role of biodiversity and ecosystems in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

In this context, IUCN strongly encourages governments to fully recognize the value of nature, and the importance of managing, restoring and conserving ecosystems to enable people to adapt to climate change. Ecosystem-based adaptation is focused on supporting local livelihoods and enhancing the critical ecosystem services upon which societies depend.

We call on States to support efforts to include ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)’ into a future climate change regime, provided that this mechanism is equitable and sustainable.

Given the particular vulnerability of Africa to the impacts of climate change, IUCN calls attention to the need to ensure sufficient financing to the most vulnerable. IUCN further encourages consideration of Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Africa, especially given the dependence of livelihoods on natural resources.

We would also like to express concern about the increasing purchases or rental of African agricultural land by non-African countries or companies to meet increasing food and biofuel demands. While this may provide benefits to Africa, such investments need to be managed and targeted, primarily, for African benefits, and need to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources. This should include transferring technology to African countries, building a better infrastructure to support sustainable agriculture in Africa, and enhancing employment of Africans in any such efforts.

Regarding the current economic situation, IUCN strongly encourages governments to seize the opportunity to rethink the ground rules for a more sustainable form of economic development. Ongoing efforts to quantify environmental values, such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, represent an important step towards a greater integration of natural capital into economic models and business plans. In this context, IUCN welcomes the recent Declaration on Green Growth made by OECD countries and other initiatives aimed at achieving a green economy. In line with the Carta di Siracusa, IUCN calls on Heads of States to support these processes.

Considering the role of biodiversity and ecosystems in climate change mitigation and adaptation; valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services; and assisting the most vulnerable to adapt to climate change are all actions which fall within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals. IUCN, therefore, urges Heads of State to ensure that measures are designed towards achieving these goals.

Julia Marton-Lefèvre
IUCN Director General