Experts meet to discuss Biological Diversity
The third meeting of the Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biological Diversity and Climate Change
A lunch time press briefing was held at Kirstenbosch Gardens Old Mutual Conference Centre at 12.00 on 22 July 2009 to discuss key issues around the role of biodiversity and ecosystems in relation to climate change, and the key messages emerging from the Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biological Diversity and Climate Change.
This technical report will contribute information to the negotiation process at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark .The event will be hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, who currently lead the development of South Africa's Second National Communication on Climate Change, and co-chair the AHTEG.
A statement from Minister Sonjica, Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, will also be presented. The event will specifically highlight new AHTEG findings, from their report to the UNFCCC and the CBD, which will be finalised at SANBI, Kirstenbosch, this week.
Parties at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the most comprehensive decision on biodiversity and climate change considered so far. In partial fulfillment of the decision, an Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change comprising roughly 40 developed and developing country and NGO experts was convened in late 2008 with a second meeting in early 2009. The group is co-chaired by Prof. Bob Watson (UK, Dept Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Dr. Guy Midgley (SA, South African National Biodiversity Institute) and Prof. Heikki Toivonen (Finland, Finnish Environment Institute).
The group has prepared a comprehensive new report on the links between biodiversity and climate change, focusing not only on the adverse effects and increasingly better understood threats, but also specifically on the role of biodiversity in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change for the benefit of human society.The final report of the group, covering impacts, adaptation and mitigation as well as economic valuation and incentives has been peer-reviewed and is being finalized this week in the third and final meeting of AHTEG, hosted by the Department of Water and Environment Affairs at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town.
This scientific report will be presented to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December this year as a key output from the CBD and to the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice in May 2010 ahead of the tenth meeting of the Parties to the CBD. The timing of this report is particularly important given that the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2010 as the International Year for Biodiversity.
New findings on the critical role of healthy and intact ecosystems in allowing human society to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and to provide mitigation options, are summarized in the report. These will be presented by AHTEG members in a media event, allowing the media to explore these findings and their implications with the report's authors. (Funding support from the British High Commission for this event is gratefully acknowledged by the AHTEG).