Wangari Maathai, Nobel laureate and founder of The Greenbelt Movement,
discusses her work with the Conservancy and why protecting nature in the face of climate change is critical for vulnerable communities.
December 16, 2009 -- At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, government leaders from around the world are committing to invest in nature conservation because it is a powerful solution to the impacts of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable communities.
At an event sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, World Vision, IUCN and other partners, leaders from more than a dozen countries pledged today to initiate innovative new programs to help protect and conserve their natural resources, so they can continue to provide the food, water, shelter and income that communities rely upon for survival.
The commitments include:
- The Federated States of Micronesia will conduct a nationwide assessment to address and prepare for the impacts of climate change, using “time proven traditional methods of conservation” as well as new innovative tools and technology.
- Speaking on behalf of the six countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative, Indonesia announced the “CT6 Communique” that commits the countries to addressing the impacts of climate change and using conservation to build the resilience of coastal communities and coral reefs that are the source of food for millions in the region.
- The United States highlighted a suite of efforts to support adaptation of oceans and coasts, including the restoration of large wetland ecosystems to provide resilience to climate change and bring economic benefit to local communities.
- Costa Rica emphasized its leadership in bringing the concept of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation into the climate negotiations and its continuing efforts to create sustainable policies and funding to strengthen its natural resources for the benefit of local communities.
- Ecuador committed to develop and implement its National Adaptation Program to Climate Change including building resilience in highland communities and ecosystems.
- Google will deploy its latest satellite monitoring tool to help communities and officials analyze the impact of climate change on ecosystems and the services they provide to people, like forests that help secure and ensure clean water supplies.
- California released its California Climate Adaptation Strategy that integrates nature-based adaptation strategies into a comprehensive approach to addressing climate change impacts.
- Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Yemen, Germany and several regional governments made commitments to integrate and develop solutions that use the power of nature to help people adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Nature Conservancy, World Vision and the IUCN joined these countries in each making a strong commitment to helping people and nature adapt to climate change.
Having committed $25 million in September at the Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze government leadership on this issue in Copenhagen, Mark Tercek, the Conservancy’s CEO, fulfilled this commitment and reaffirmed our efforts to build the evidence that nature conservation is a “smart dollars-and-sense investment” in protecting people against the impacts of climate change.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and keynote speaker Wangari Maathai spoke about her efforts to ensure that healthy forests across her homeland of Kenya contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change on local communities. Speaking of the role forests play in providing and storing water, she said “we have five mountains in Kenya, and they are the waters towers of our country.”
World Vision committed to scale up forest programs in degraded lands in Ethiopia. World Vision’s National Director for Ethiopia, Tenagne Lemma, said since 2005, the Humbo Project had restored more than 2,700 hectares of degraded land in southwestern Ethiopia.
IUCN said it will be scaling up its climate adaptation work at a national and local level, supporting governments and civil society to help the people most vulnerable to climate change adapt through better environmental management.
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