Since the late 1970s the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has delivered services that support implementation of international biodiversity-related agreements at global, regional and national levels. These services not only support the work of the agreement secretariats, but also of the advisory and governance bodies, and of governments party to the various agreements. The aim of this paper is to illustrate this work through examples of work we have undertaken.
The support that UNEP-WCMC provides is based on expert understanding of the agreements and how they work, resulting from many years of experience and close relationships with secretariats.Resource Type: Reports
Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation is the first truly circumpolar overview of Arctic biodiversity written for the nonspecialist. It provides the reader with a clear understanding of the importance of the Earth's largest ecoregion and its status in the face of a rapidly changing world.Resource Type: Reports
An international team of research scientists has created a peer-reviewed website, http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/, which tracks multiple changes in the Arctic environment (Fig. 1). While the 2007 loss of summertime sea ice is the most dramatic example, changes are also seen in the atmosphere, on land and in the ocean, and as shifts in location and abundance of Arctic species.Resource Type: Reports
UNEP-WCMC, with the financial support of the UN-REDD programme, wrote a paper on biodiversity monitoring for REDD+ published in the journal "Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability" as part of ongoing work on REDD+ safeguards. The paper observes the following three challenge to biodiversity monitoring for REDD: choosing which aspects of biodiversity to monitor, the difficulty of attributing particular changes to REDD+ and the likely scarcity of resources for biodiversity monitoring. It proposes three responses which may address these challenges: 1) agreed policy targets that identify what should be monitored; 2) making links to existing biodiversity monitoring and to monitoring to estimate GHG emissions and removals; and 3) developing clear theories of change to assist in determining which changes in biodiversity can be attributed to REDD+. The paper is available on the journal website here.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
Arctic ecosystems are harsh and inhospitable, containing very low species diversity. However, although the habitats are relatively homogeneous throughout the circumpolar Arctic region, differences in species richness and areas of outstanding species richness can be recognised. Analysis of patterns in species diversity can be used to prioritise regions for conservation in the Arctic. Towards this goal, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) programme has been compiling information on the distribution and abundance of species and ecosystems in the Arctic. The work described in this report was designed to complement other ongoing projects and was included in the CAFF V work plan. It was carried out under an EU fellowship at UNEP-WCMC.Resource Type: Reports
An assessment of impacts on Arctic terrestrial ecosystems has emphasized geographical variability in responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change. This variability is usually associated with north-south gradients in climate, biodiversity, vegetation zones, and ecosystem structure and function. It is clear, however, that significant east-west variability in environment, ecosystem structure and function, environmental history, and recent climate variability is also important.Some areas have cooled while others have become warmer.
Overall, the subregional synthesis demonstrates the difficulty of generalizing projections of responses of ecosystem structure and function, species loss, and biospheric feedbacks to the climate system for the whole Arctic region and implies a need for a far greater understanding of the spatial variability in the responses of terrestrial arctic ecosystems to climate change.Resource Type: Journal Papers
On October 16, at the REDD+ Day of CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, the UN-REDD programme launched a policy brief focusing on multiple benefits and safeguards under REDD+. The paper elaborated on the use of tools and data to support decisions, and presented examples from implementation in REDD+ countries.
REDD+ is increasingly considered to have the potential to contribute to a range of policy goals in addition to climate change mitigation in the forestry sector. It is also recognized that there are social and environmental risks that may arise as the REDD+ mechanism is being implemented.
What has been less widely acknowledged is that avoiding significant risks and securing additional benefits from REDD+ could be the key to the overall success of the mechanism. By securing benefits beyond carbon, REDD+ can draw support from broader social and political constituencies; demonstrate that it enables a wider range of values to be realized; and generates sustainable income sources.
For governments and other stakeholders to adopt a broader approach to REDD+, a strong evidence base is needed to demonstrate that additional benefits will indeed be achieved, and contributions to national and local priorities accomplished. The Policy Brief outlines a series of analytical approaches that can help provide an evidence base to inform REDD+ decisions. It focuses on addressing environmental risks and benefits, and provides examples from Panama, Nigeria, DRC and Indonesia of where these approaches are already used.
The policy brief was drafted collaboratively with UNEP by UNEP-WCMC as part of their work for the UN-REDD Programme.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
The continued growth of human populations and of per capita consumption have resulted in unsustainable exploitation of Earth’s biological diversity, exacerbated by climate change, ocean acidification, and other anthropogenic environmental impacts. We argue that effective conservation of biodiversity is essential for human survival and the maintenance of ecosystem processes. Despite some conservation successes (especially at local scales) and increasing public and government interest in living sustainably, biodiversity continues to decline. Moving beyond 2010, successful conservation approaches need to be reinforced and adequately financed. In addition, however, more radical changes are required that recognize biodiversity as a global public good, that integrate biodiversity conservation into policies and decision frameworks for resource production and consumption, and that focus on wider institutional and societal changes to enable more effective implementation of policy.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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