Participants in Cancun call for coordinated action among the Rio Conventions

Press Release

Cancun, Mexico, 29 November 2010 – At launch of the Rio Conventions Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion on the opening day of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP16) under way in Cancun, Mexico, participants, called for doable coordinated action at the local, national, regional and global levels by the sister Rio conventions – Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UNFCCC.

Participants stressed that such cooperation should still respect their individual mandates, but underlined the co-benefits of protecting biodiversity, reversing land degradation, desertification and drought (DLDD) while combating the impacts of climate change and capitalizing on the opportunities that the implementation of these conventions offer vulnerable populations.

Participants, who included delegates from countries that are parties to the three conventions and NGO representatives, attended the side event that was organized by the Rio convention secretariats in partnership with several countries. The event’s focus was enhancing synergies through increasing awareness on opportunities and existing linkages between biodiversity, climate change and DLDD.

The presenters included Grenada’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Mr. Spencer Thomas, who also chaired the meeting, Mr. Hideki Minamikawa, Vice- Minister for Global Environment, Japan, and Ms. Hyunju Lee, Deputy Director, International Cooperation Division, Korea Forest Service, for the Republic of Korea.

The presentations of the outcomes of the recently held CBD COP10 and the expected outcomes of the UNCCD COP 10 to be held in the Republic of Korea in 2011 were followed by a consideration of the need to find common implementation approaches, especially at the local level, where the separation of the convention mandates is irrelevant for populations affected by desertification, land degradation and drought, biodiversity loss and climate change impacts.

Participants suggested possible areas for cooperation and complementary action that include continuing cooperation on existing activities that capitalize on synergies among the Conventions, for example, through the Joint Liaison Group. Other proposals included developing common or coherent methodologies for action on specific issues and ecosystems, pursuing opportunities offered by the REDD+ mechanism, programmatic action that expert groups engaged on common issues can offer and activities under the different subsidiary bodies of these conventions.

Following the success of CBD COP 10, participants called for a successful UNFCCC COP16 and UNCCD COP 10. CBD COP 10 embraced the ‘Satoyama Initiative’, a socially productive landscape-oriented set of measures to protect the land, the climate and biodiversity, and is built on a traditional Japanese agricultural production system. Participants stated that the UNCCD and UNFCCC processes too could benefit from their own Satoyama processes. The benefit for the UNCCD could be on initiatives that target SLM in specific ecosystems, taking into account the climate change priorities identified by parties.

Calls were also made for a possible “Global Satoyama Initiative” that could enhance coordination at the national level from the three conventions, especially leading up to the commemoration of the 20-year of the signing of the Rio Declaration in 1992. Such a coordinated approach also calls for financial mechanisms that benefit developing countries while addressing land degradation and biodiversity loss in light of climate change.

For more information, contact:
Sergio A. Zelaya
Policy and Advocacy on Global and Emerging Issues
UNCCD secretariat