UNFCCC workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation

21/03/2007

UNFCCC second workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, Cairns, Australia 7 - 9 March 2007.

This workshop developed on the conclusions and decisions of a previous workshop on this topic held in Rome last year. The Secretary General attended the workshop and contributed to a panel session of IGOs.

The workshop was well attended with representation form all regions, and examined the question in some detail. While the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and related activities is seen as only about 20% of the total it is none-the-less a significant contributor. And there are benefits, especially in biodiversity conservation to be had from reducing deforestation.

While the activities of Ramsar may seem away from this topic he close relationship between wetland and forest ecosystems, and the fact that some ecosystems (e.g. mangroves, flooded forests) are included in both counts. A further issue of importance is the link between deforestation and forest (and other ecosystem) degradation, and the impact of ecosystem degradation on climate change. Other issues canvassed included the role of protected areas and indigenous knowledge.

Tuvalu, among others, noted the complex relationship between climate change and biodiversity. It was suggested the JLG between Rio conventions (to which Ramsar is a sometime observer) could be a useful forum for examining this issue further. The results of the meeting will be reported to the twenty-sixth session on the SBSTA starting 7 May, in Bonn, Germany. A report of the meeting is at http://unfccc.int/press/news_room/newsletter/in_focus/items/3944.php.

While this remains a peripheral issue in part for Ramsar it highlights the need for continued engagement in the climate change deliberations, through JLG and other mechanisms. A specific resolution again examining the role of Ramsar in the global actions on climate change at COP10 should be seriously considered.

-- Peter Bridgewater,
Secretary General

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