UNEP-WCMC’s Chief Impact Officer Matt Jones, Principal Specialist for Nature-based Solutions Valerie Kapos and Principal Technical Specialist for Climate Change Mitigation Lera Miles reflect on this year’s climate summit and celebrate clear acknowledgement of the need for integrated action on the climate and nature crises
A significant outcome of this year’s global climate summit, COP28, is an agreement to “transition away from fossil fuels”. This huge task, already underway, is given additional momentum by the UAE Consensus outcome, which rightly focuses much of the world’s attention on decarbonisation. Nonetheless, the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)’s Dubai delegation team were heartened to see nature being integrated into the negotiations at COP28, as well as being robustly championed on the sidelines.
The COP28 decision on the outcome of the Global Stocktake, which assessed countries’ collective progress in accelerating action on climate change to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, formally recognises the importance of nature. In addition to its significant declarations for nature, it calls for nature-based solutions (NbS) to climate change to be implemented in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Nature, NbS, biodiversity and ecosystems were all terms discussed often during the negotiations, and the decision relating to the Global Goal on Adaptation set up under the Paris Agreement now includes several references to ecosystem-based approaches and NbS.
COP28 underscored the recent rapid evolution in decision-makers’ understanding of the importance of nature in confronting and adapting to climate change. Consideration of ecosystems is now pervasive in the discussions and the decisions across the COP. During this COP, and many before it, UNEP-WCMC’s experts worked to support that climate decision-makers broaden their focus to include the role of nature in ensuring resilience alongside its key role in carbon sequestration and storage.
While nature is moving in from the fringe, there is still a long way to go.