31 January, 2022
World academies launch an action plan to combat both climate change and biodiversity decline
The new IAP Statement ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity: Interlinkages and policy options’ highlights that climate and biodiversity policies are currently insufficiently connected and addressing climate change and biodiversity decline together is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Climate change and biodiversity decline are major challenges of our time. Both are predominantly caused by human activities, with profound consequences for people and the ecosystems on which we depend. In 2021 and 2022, the major United Nations conferences on biodiversity (COP15) and climate change (COP26) will provide an opportunity for governments to focus international attention on the interconnectedness and interdependence of climate change and biodiversity.
This is why the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), a global network whose more than 140 member academies constitute more than 30,000 leading scientists, engineers, and health professionals in over 100 countries, issues today the new Statement ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity: Interlinkages and policy options’.
The Statement examines interconnections between biodiversity and climate change and outlines how measures that benefit biodiversity have the potential to support climate action, and how some aspects of climate action can support biodiversity. It also discusses instances where some approaches to addressing climate change can undermine efforts to protect or enhance biodiversity.
“The year 2021 should be one of the turning points in history, in which the international community collaborated to make a long-lasting difference by streamlining and integrating climate change and biodiversity policies and embarking on a pathway towards a stable climate and a vibrant biosphere,” says Sir Richard Catlow, IAP co-President and member of the UK Royal Society.
“By better integrating climate and biodiversity policies at international and national levels, the full potential of biodiversity to support climate action could be leveraged, whilst at the same time helping to reverse the ongoing decline in biodiversity,” adds Depei Liu, IAP co-President and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
As highlighted in the Statement, some policy measures are beneficial in both areas, helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as to conserve and restore biodiversity. However, this is not guaranteed, and some climate actions can undermine biodiversity goals.
Key policy recommendations include:
Build a sustainable food system with climate- and biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices, responsible food trade, and equitable food distribution.
IAP’s principles underpinning biodiversity and climate action are: