Country Is Hosting a Consultation and Capacity Building Workshop On
South Africa is hosting a consultation and capacity-building workshop under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity, on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), with a focus on biodiversity safeguards. The workshop commenced on 20 September 2011 at Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, Western Cape and ends today, 23 September.
One of the key issues facing negotiators and policy makers at United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP17 in Durban later this year is how to slow the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and other forms of forest degradation. These processes produce about 20% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis. If these emissions could be reduced, it would make a significant contribution to achieving the global target of keeping global warming to below 2°C. The REDD+ agenda item has been discussed as contributing to mitigating climate change since the Montreal COP11 in 2005.
Decisions on developing a mechanism for incentivising reduced emissions from deforestation are very likely to have implications for the management of biodiversity, and a host of related issues for the use and management of forest areas, especially by indigenous peoples. For this reason, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has made efforts to inform this debate and build capacity amongst UNFCCC negotiators in ways that will contribute positively to ensuring that biodiversity and local livelihoods are enhanced by a REDD+ mechanism.
The CBD has hosted a series of four international workshops over the past year to help build a deeper and mutual understanding of these issues amongst affected parties. More than 60 experts and negotiators from more than 20 African countries have been engaged in the discussions at this workshop, which is the last in a series of four expert workshops on the links between biodiversity and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
The workshops were organised by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) pursuant to CBD decisions IX/16, IX/5 and X/33. It took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 20 to 23 September 2010; Singapore, from 15 to 18 March 2011; and Quito, Ecuador, from 5 to 8 July 2011. Funding for the series was provided by the governments of Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Biodiversity, and by the UN REDD Programme. The South African workshop has been co-hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
"We are very grateful to the government of South Africa for taking the lead in linking biodiversity and climate change objectives, together with other interested African countries. Our success in tackling climate change will greatly depend on maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services. REDD+ gives us a concrete opportunity for doing this," said Mr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Department of Environmental Affairs Deputy Director-General of Biodiversity and Conservation, Mr Fundisile Mketeni, said, "We are delighted to be able to support the CBD in their efforts to help African countries in gaining a deep understanding of these issues, and allowing them to develop well informed positions going into COP17. This is an important contribution to building the momentum towards achieving a good outcome in Durban."
CEO of SANBI, Dr Tanya Abrahamse stated, "Having the REDD+ meeting on African soil has given us a great opportunity to engage with our colleagues on the continent around common challenges and priorities relating to deforestation, biodiversity and climate change. We share common concerns of poverty, capacity, resources and coordination, and want to ensure that we speak with a united voice on these matters at COP 17."