Findings of the CBD Expert Group on
Biodiversity and Climate Change

Presented by Secretariat of the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD


This event presented findings from the report of the ad-hoc
technical expert group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change. The AHTEG
was convened in response to CBD Decision IX /16, with the mandate to provide
relevant information to the UNFCCC.

Jaime Webbe, CBD, introduced the report, which addresses, inter alia: tools,
methodologies and best practices for assessing the impacts of climate change on
biodiversity; opportunities to deliver multiple benefits; and suggestions to
ensure that REDD is consistent with CBD objectives.

Guy Midgley, South African National Botanical Institute, said the AHTEG report
indicates that conservation strategies can enhance natural adaptation, but that
extreme events can push the environment beyond its adaptive capacity. He said
that extinction risks associated with climate change increase by 10% for every
one degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures, and that if
temperatures rise between 5°C and 10°C there is a risk of mass extinction. He
added that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations are altering the basic
environmental underpinnings of life.

Jochen Flasbarth, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Germany,
presented on the German approach to addressing biodiversity and climate change.
He said that the Life Web Initiative had resulted in protected area proposals
by over 40 countries and that it is now up to donors to finance these. He noted
that Germany
has committed 500 million Euros to biodiversity from 2009 to 2012, to be
followed by 500 million Euros per year thereafter.

Håvard Toresen, Ministry of Environment, Norway,
presented on the establishment of the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative,
and stressed that Norway
wishes to establish a framework that will reduce the increase of average
temperatures below 2°C. He noted that next year the Fund’s endowment will amount
to 3 Billion Norwegian Kroner. He noted challenges, including: monitoring;
carbon leakage; forest management capacity; governance; and safeguarding
indigenous peoples’ interests and rights.

Bill Hare, Potsdam Institute, emphasized that a REDD mechanism must result in
overall reductions in both emissions and biodiversity loss. He said that a
market-based approach will require high levels of verification compared to a
fund-based approach, and cautioned that introducing large amounts of REDD
credits could depress carbon markets. He proposed a "hybrid market link
mechanism" whereby funds generated from Annex 1 obligations would be used
to fund Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Units. He said a REDD
strategy plan would be required, including safeguards for biodiversity and
indigenous peoples.

Participants discussed the lack of attention that biodiversity is receiving
within the REDD debate and risks associated with a market-based approach, and
questioned the rationale behind "discounting" REDD credits.