UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
In 1994 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into force and has been ratified by 192 countries. It sets the overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle climate change.
Most UNFCCC parties have also approved an addition to the treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, which came into force in 2005 and has more powerful and legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a commitment period between 2007 and 2012.
UNFCCC parties are currently negotiating a new Agreement with commitments to take effect from 2012. The negotiations began in Bali in December 2007 where the UNFCCC parties agreed the 'Bali Road Map' to set the parameters for the negotiations, which were intended to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009. Thanks to the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, negotiating a mechanism to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) were included in the Bali Road Map.
At the 2009 Copenhagen meeting governments failed to conclude a new binding Agreement but some countries did sign on to a Copenhagen Accord where they pledged their onward commitments to reduce emissions. In 2011 the negotiations are ongoing for a new binding Agreement.
HSI is engaging with the negotiations to ensure that the Agreement will include forest protection as part of the global strategy to mitigate greenhouse gases from 2012.
Deforestation and degradation is responsible for an estimated 18-25% of global greenhouse gas emissions and so it was extremely regrettable that forest protection was omitted from the Kyoto Protocol.
HSI supports REDD being included in an international emission-trading scheme. Dangerous climate change can only be avoided if the world' s remaining forests are protected and the carbon market offers an unprecedented opportunity to secure that protection.
However, it is important that the REDD mechanism is well designed to be successful at reducing greenhouse emissions, to avoid perverse outcomes and to maximise the co-benefits for biodiversity protection.
HSI is seeking to ensure that the UNFCCC negotiates a REDD mechanism that will prioritize protection for the world's remaining intact forests and restoration of degraded forests, while including safeguards for biodiversity conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. To that end we are working with a coalition of organisations called the Ecosystems Climate Alliance
To help maximise biodiversity co-benefits from REDD initiatives, HSI has been proud to have given a financial contribution to a project to map biodiversity and carbon hotspots by the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The maps will be helpful for countries wanting to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through avoided deforestation and to maximise biodiversity protection at the same time.
Carbon & Biodiversity (PDF)
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