Global collaboration between private sector, conservation groups and academia seek practical solutions to fight global warming while conserving biodiversity and alleviating poverty
The first ever set of standards certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty have been opened up for global peer review and comment by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).
This "multiple benefit" approach which incorporates climate, environmental and social issues addresses shortfalls in existing land-based climate strategies. With input from environmental organizations, academic institutions and the private sector, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards will help companies, conservation organizations, governments and international funding groups to efficiently identify cost-effective carbon emission reduction projects that also have a positive impact on biodiversity and local communities.
Overwhelming scientific evidence implicates greenhouse gases generated by human activity in changing the global climate. Simultaneously, record numbers of people subsist in poverty and massive biodiversity losses continue largely unabated. Making matters worse, these challenges reinforce one another. Climate change can exacerbate poverty and accelerate biodiversity loss. Poverty often forces local people to exploit their environment unsustainably. And degraded environments in turn can contribute to poverty and hasten climate change.
"With international input from the private sector, conservation community and academia, we can ensure that the CCB standards are more than just an academic exercise, but rather a practical tool that will produce real conservation and community outcomes," said Michael Totten, Conservation Internationals Senior Director of Climate. "Broad based feedback from all stakeholders will only further strengthen the work that has been done."
CCB certified projects will counter climate change, promote sustainable development and conserve or restore biodiversity. In addition to these tangible benefits, integrated efforts can attract a unique portfolio of investors and resources. For example, a reforestation project - with clear multiple benefits - may attract private investors for carbon credits, government money for sustainable development and private conservation dollars for biodiversity activities.
On the other hand, poor quality land management can hasten climate change, damage ecosystems and harm community livelihoods. An example of an inferior project is a non-native plantation that blocks migratory routes of key species and illegally evicts local people. Some inferior projects will cause harm, while others may cause tradeoffs between climate change mitigation, sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.
This draft marks the beginning of a broad, international review. Community groups, non-profit organizations, companies, academics, government agencies and individuals are encouraged to review this draft and suggest improvements. All types of comments are welcome: critiques, improvements, specific language changes and comments on the overall structure. A review team will consider comments and revise the Standards accordingly. The review team includes the original authors and three world-class advising institutions. After the revisions, a second draft of the Standards will be re-posted on the website for additional comments. Simultaneously, the revised Standards will be field-tested at a dozen sites around the world. Based on field-testing and further comments, the review team will again modify the standards into a final form. The final CCB Standards will be distributed and available on the Internet in late 2004 or early 2005.
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