2021 marked a high point in IUCN’s engagement on climate change. Throughout the year – as encapsulated in this bulletin – colleagues across different IUCN programmes, regions and commissions actively engaged on different facets of this challenge. Whether through generating new knowledge, supporting local communities, influencing policy, or building practical initiatives on the ground, significant contributions were made across the entirety of the organisation.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress also sent a very clear message on the topic to the global community from Marseille. It highlighted that climate change and biodiversity loss are not two separate emergencies, but rather two faces of the same crisis. Furthermore, it emphasised that nature is an indispensable ally in the fight against climate change that is required alongside the deep decarbonisation of the global economy to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Both these messages were categorically accepted at UNFCCC COP26.
In Glasgow, countries explicitly recognised – for the first time ever – the interlinked biodiversity and climate crises, and the critical role that nature could play in delivering benefits for both climate adaptation and mitigation. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) secured more attention at COP26 than in any previous climate COP to date. NbS was also strongly recognised in the G7 and G20 climate and environment ministerial communiques this year. It was also the focus of the annual forum of the UNFCCC’s Standing Committee of Finance, where IUCN delivered the keynote address. Taken together, these have now established a solid foundation, which the Union is well positioned to build on further. As we enter a new phase of change and ambition, our work on climate – whether policy or practice – will be more important than ever before.
Global Coordinator – IUCN Climate Change Portfolio