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Climate Change and Biodiversity
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Introduction

Biodiversity and climate change are the core issues of two related international policy agreements. However the obvious links between biodiversity and climate change are increasingly justifying the need for greater synergies between the UNFCCC and CBD processes and implementation activities. Human induced climate change impacts biodiversity and biodiversity can reduce the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. One aspect of this link is the role of the forestry sector in contributing to and fighting climate change and the opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries – REDD.

It has been recognized that climate change is having a disproportionate effect on vulnerable communities, including indigenous communities. REDD related activities can present both opportunities and risks for the rights of indigenous peoples. However international discussions surrounding REDD are yet to adequately consider the interests of indigenous peoples. The climate change related activities currently being undertaken at the Institute therefore seeks to explore these links between climate change and indigenous peoples, climate change and biodiversity. This exploration includes policy research, collation and dissemination of stories from indigenous communities, provision of information resources and bringing together various communities which often tackle the issues in separate fora.

Current Research Projects

  • Evaluation of Trade-offs between Conservation and Development - Case of Land Use Change in Malaysia and Indonesia - This project seeks to: 1) Examine the impacts of rubber and oil palm plantations on the biodiversity and species interaction in various regions using multi-temporal satellite image analysis, field surveys and relevant indices; 2) Estimate the carbon flux of the plantation systems combining geo-spatial techniques with ground based measurements and existing national estimates; 3) Conduct economic valuation for the land use options and identify the opportunity costs of conversion from forest to plantation for various stakeholders, particularly local communities, businesses and governments; 4) Develop a decision tool incorporating both conservation and economic options.  This would be reflective of environmental objectives, policy imperatives and economic development priorities and will also profile equity and efficiency concerns of various stakeholders in the decision matrix.  The results of the study will provide some evidence of the dynamics of policy-practice linkages in land use decisions and contribute to discussions on REDD and land use change. Partners of this project are: Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia). This is an Asia Pacific Network for Global Change funded project.
  • Biodiversity and Climate Change Law - Conflict Resolution and Forest Peoples' Livelihoods - This project seeks to link the analysis of environmental resources access and exclusion to the broader discussions on property and sharing in law and other social science, exploring how legal innovation can promote forest and climate equitable governance as well as multilevel mechanisms that ensure participation in environmental decision making.

Activities

REDD+ International Symposium on Costs and Benefits of REDD Plus: What, Who and How.This symposium was convened by UNU-IAS and partners, 19-20 September, 2011 in Malaysia.
 
Seminar: 'Climate Change Legal Negotiations: Implications for Forest Governance, Equity and Livelihoods', UNU-IAS, Japan. Ituarte-Lima, Claudia  and Subramanian Suneetha (2011) ‘Are There Lessons for Climate Change Legal Negotiations from Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements?’ Presentation at Climate Change Legal Negotiations: Implications for Forest Governance, Equity and Livelihoods, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, Japan, 9 March, 2011.

Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment:  The United Nations Permanent Forum at its Seventh Session of the Permanent Forum held from 21 April to 2 May 2008 recommended that "...the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies, university research centres and relevant United Nations agencies conduct further studies on the impacts of climate change and climate change responses on indigenous peoples who are living in highly fragile ecosystems".  This IP Climate Change Assessment  seeks to assess - Climate change impacts on IPs and their lands, cultures and livelihoods; Observations of IPs of climate change and environmental changes; Responses/strategies/vision of IPs in the face of this, and what they need to realize these; and Impacts of climate change measures.

Video Briefs on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: Several video briefs have been produced and screened at various relevant international meetings.  The video briefs address how indigenous people are being affected by and are adapting to climate change.  One such video brief on Sea Level Rise in Kowanyama can be viewed at Our World 2.0.

Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change: The Global Summit involved an estimated 400 participants to pursue four main objectives including  the sharing of lessons from the views and experiences of Indigenous Peoples on climate change. This Summit convened in Anchorage, Alaska, USA in April 09.

International Scientific Congress on Climate Change -  "Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions", Mar 09 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Programme experts and partners presented three papers relevant to the discussions in Session 43 Integrating Climate Change into Global Sustainability.

Support to Indigenous Peoples Participation in REDD Regional and Global Discussions: In Nov 08, the Institute supported, with partners, the South East Asia Indigenous Peoples  Consultation on REDD and the Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on REDD in Baguio City, Philippines.  In 2009, the Institute supported additional meetings including the June, 09 Amazon Forum in Manaus, Brazil.

Online REDD Alert Bulletin:  This news update informs indigenous peoples of current REDD related activities, debates and projects.  It is similar in design and purpose to the Traditional Knowledge Bulletin.

Publications

 

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