Morning panelists explored what wholesale transformative change requires from human society while afternoon speakers highlighted nature-based climate solutions that are helping communities and countries adapt to climate change.
Rio Conventions Pavilion
The third day of the Rio Conventions Pavilion dedicated its morning session to Transformative Change for Nature Positive Pathways. Panelists presented the opportunities that transformative change poses for a nature positive future that can holistically address the climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises.
The afternoon session focused on Nature-based Climate Solutions and how National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) can enhance synergies between climate and biodiversity strategies.
Transformative Change for Nature Positive Pathways
Towards Transformative Change? Mobilising the Global Biodiversity Framework
In the first panel of this session, speakers discussed what is needed for transformative change to make a marked effort in halting biodiversity loss. Speakers agreed that there is consensus that transformative change is needed and wanted but a global definition of what this means has not yet been established: Does it demand a systems or structural change or a participation and process change?
Panelists further noted that the business as usual scenario will not lead to the change needed but an integrated plan where new paradigms and political systems are adopted is crucial to bend the curve towards putting nature at the center of action.
Aligning Nature and Climate Change for Transformative Change
During this ministerial panel, ministers shared their vision on transformative change and the interlinkages between the CBD and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In opening remarks, Christianne van der Wal-Zeggelink, Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Policy, the Netherlands, said to succeed, COP 15 must deliver a comprehensive and transformative global biodiversity framework (GBF) supported by an enhanced implementation mechanism. She shared the Netherland’s vision to transition to nature inclusive agriculture.
Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, noted that for any credible path towards the Paris climate goals, “we have to give nature a starring role.” She highlight that the Glasgow Climate Change Conference brought nature to the top of the global political agenda, including through mobilizing substantial resources.
Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates, highlighted the need to create lighthouse projects as vehicles of hope, stating “let’s make nature our ally”.
Ministers highlighted the important role of nature-based solutions (NbS) to address the climate and biodiversity crises, elaborating on the leaders’ pledge for nature and the mangrove alliance for climate as recent examples of mobilizing resources and support.
Building Productive Linkages Between Whole of Society and Whole of Government
During this session, Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, Wales, outlined the numerous ways her country has adopted a whole-of-society approach to prioritize action for a greener future in Wales. She noted that through consultations across communities in Wales, the government was able to shape a policy agenda that reflects the Wales that Welsh citizens envision for themselves.
Rachael Barza, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Diane Holdorf, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, emphasized the role that private sector and financial institutions are playing in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. They echoed the strategy of Wales to engage local communities in forming legislative decisions, but also recognized that not enough is being done to measure how some companies are destroying nature.
Recognizing and Rewarding Transformative Change
In this session, panelists shared perspectives from central banks, cities, research, and civil society on ways to build trust through monitoring and reporting.
The panel found that while climate disclosure has become a business norm, disclosure and reporting of nature risk and impacts in the value chain is a burgeoning practice, with the corporate world, cities, and financial supervisors primed to respond.
Panelists called for micro-collaborations with the scientific community and for building feedback mechanisms, citing the UNFCCC global stocktake as an example of how to check progress and ramp up ambition.
Nature-based Climate Solutions
In the afternoon, the Rio Conventions Pavilion focused on nature-based climate solutions. Richard Florizone, President and CEO, International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD), opened the session, pointing out that nature provides foundational support to our communities; therefore, we should stop investing against nature and should instead invest alongside nature.
Christiane Paulus, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, discussed the ENACT Initiative for NbS, which Germany, the Egyptian COP 27 Presidency, and IUCN recently launched. She noted this is a unique international forum for NbS, but said Germany is also ensuring it is coupling international investments in environment with national action plans.
Céline Heinbecker, Canada, detailed how the Government of Canada is investing in climate action programmes that incorporate gender equality and reconciliation with Indigenous populations as a cross-cutting consideration.
Enhancing Synergies Between Climate, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development Actions
Kirsten Hegener, GIZ, opened this session, highlighting the recent progress in alignment between institutions and processes of climate and biodiversity governance. Three presentations highlighted lessons learned from case studies on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in NAPs and NBSAPs, potential contributions from EbA to the Sustainable Development Goals, and how NbS could be integrated into nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Panelists provided practical examples of integrated approaches and called for more coherence across the Rio Conventions. They noted that cost-effectiveness of EbA and NbS, while context specific, is often linked to their multiple co-benefits. Lamenting that donor priorities and funding requirements are often siloed and misaligned to the time requirements and multifaceted nature of NbS and EbA projects, panelists encouraged more holistic approaches that overcome fear of double-counting or being short changed.
The Role of NBSAPs and NAPs in Scaling Nature-Based Infrastructure
During this session, panelists examined the major constraints and opportunities for nature-based infrastructure (NBI) through NAPs and NBSAPs.
Panelists noted the cheaper costs for investing in NBI and the long-term revenue gains and environmental benefits that they generate, but also pointed out that despite this, the global tendency is to opt for grey infrastructure. A solution to this, one speaker opined, would be to determine more measurable ways to quantify the advantages of NBI.
Speakers also explained how NBSAPs and NAPs – though very high-level articulations of national priorities, commitments, and vulnerabilities – can be harnessed as an effective starting point to gather political momentum to attract and allocate needed resources for NBI.
Role of Protected Areas in Climate Adaptation
In this panel, speakers detailed adaptive measures, including vulnerability mapping, in 236 protected areas across Africa. They encouraged protecting and restoring coral reef systems as an adaptation strategy; concerted efforts to “walk the talk” on adaptation and resilience building within the Canadian park system; and elaborated on Indigenous land stewardship and traditional knowledge.
Panelists said the prospect of being the stewards of 30% of the planet required mutual learning, stronger networks, and dedicated institutions, while stressing that protected areas should not be considered in isolation and can only function when the remaining 70% is sustainably managed.
Responding to a question on what is needed for protected areas to scale up and adapt to climate change, speakers elaborated on the need to develop forward looking policies, connectivity integrated in the landscape, and a shift in mind-set towards solutions. They also stressed the need to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands and territories and integrating traditional and local knowledge. In addition, panelists called for: strong community governance and human rights-based approaches for all conservation; embracing technology that is appropriate and flexible and which can turn data into insights; and addressing lack of capacity and resources.
Movies and Marketplace at the COP: Scaling up Nature and Climate Initiatives
The final session of the day included short video presentations from GIZ, IUCN, and IISD on e-learning tools and capacity building for scaling-up nature and climate initiatives.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin is covering the Rio Conventions Pavilion at COP 15 events from 13-18 December.
Organizer: Rio Conventions Pavilion
Contact: David Ainsworth | email@example.com