UN Biodiversity summit pays strong attention to wetlands
Wetlands International has followed the Convention for the full two weeks and organised several side events (click here for our activities).
In particular, we paid attention to the impacts of wetland loss on climate change, to the effective role intact wetland ecosystems can play in adaptation strategies, and to the loss of wetlands and their values due to biofuel production. We are delighted to see all these issues incorporated in the final decisions.
The climate change decision (1) explicitly “recognises the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of wetland biodiversity, particularly peatlands, in addressing climate change”. This is a major step and a strong signal from the CBD to governments and delegations at the UN climate summit (UNFCCC). The climate summit has so far only addressed forests when it comes to biodiversity and climate change, ignoring the carbon stocks of deforested and non-forested peatlands.
The decision as a whole however does not proceed further than to urge parties for integrating biodiversity in climate change policies. Wetlands International had hoped for a strong call to give wetlands the same status as forests in climate policies.
The biofuel decision (2) also explicitly mentions the impact of biofuel production on wetlands and calls upon the Parties to minimize these impacts and requests the technical committee of the Convention (SBSTTA) to develop a recommendation on this in 2010. Apart from the good intentions in this decision, there are no clear actions or criteria included. Considering the rapid biofuel developments, with often devastating impacts on natural areas such as wetlands and rainforests and the people that depend on them, Wetlands International calls for the development of a set of clear global biodiversity criteria.
For more information:
Alex Kaat, Communication Manager
Tel: +31 (0)6 50601917