Progress in Bangkok, but hard work left for Barcelona and Copenhagen

09 October 2009 | News story

IUCN Closing Statement: The Bangkok climate change talks, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have moved the all-important negotiating text for a new climate change agreement forward. However, countries are still far from agreeing on the form of the agreement, and most importantly on emission cuts that would ensure a deal in Copenhagen in December.

“Delegates in Bangkok have made substantial progress on the text of a new global climate change agreement,” says Claire Parker, IUCN’s Head of Delegation to the UNFCCC in Bangkok. “But commitments for sizeable cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 are still missing, and are needed before such a deal can be closed. Developed and developing countries do not see eye-to-eye as to who must make efforts to cut their emissions, and when.”

The UN Climate Change talks are beginning to recognize that managing nature better helps people adapt to climate change and can actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Progress is being made in the negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, which also includes conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD Plus). But more must be done.

“REDD Plus is capable of delivering durable emissions reductions,” says Carole Saint-Laurent, IUCN Senior Forest Policy Advisor. “However, it must be agreed that countries will be rewarded as they move from preparation of REDD Plus actions to verified performance for putting in place safeguards for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and good governance arrangements, including the participation of stakeholders.”

“Ecosystems can play a critical role in adaptation, especially in enabling actions available to the rural poor that are cost-effective and sustainable. For example well-managed mangroves can reduce flood impacts in low-lying coastal areas,” says IUCN’s Climate Change Coordinator, Ninni Ikkala. “This should be recognized in the future adaptation framework or programme.”

It is also important to ensure that the new Copenhagen framework is gender-responsive, reflecting active participation of stakeholders as well as recognizing differentiated impacts on women and men from climate change.

“Women need to be part of the solution and not the victims of deficient decisions taken on their behalf,” says Lorena Aguilar, IUCN’s Global Senior Gender Advisor. “In many cases entire communities depend on them for their livelihood. If gender considerations are not sufficiently incorporated into a new climate deal, millions of lives stand to be lost.”