Policy brief ‘Addressing climate change: Why biodiversity matters’

There are obvious interconnections between climate change and biodiversity. However, the possible mutual benefits between climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity conservation within projects, are often not recognised and addressed. Likewise, the potential negative impacts of climate change projects to biodiversity and ecosystem services are often neglected. Therefore, a policy brief ‘Addressing climate change: Why biodiversity matters’ has been developed. It highlights the importance of considering biodiversity within climate change policies, programmes and projects, and presents opportunities to realise synergies.

The team of authors is comprised of scientists and practitioners at United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, BirdLife International and The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz – BfN).

The brief has been informed by a 2.5 year research and development project on biodiversity criteria for the design, selection and evaluation of climate change adaptation and natural carbon sinks/REDD+ projects in forests and wetlands under the German International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Technical Report can be downloaded here.

Key messages from the Policy Brief are the following:

·         Climate change mitigation and adaptation aims can be supported by biodiversity conservation actions, enabling the permanence of mitigation and adaptation efforts.

·         Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation undermines the supply of ecosystem services vital for mitigation and adaptation.

·         Adaptation and mitigation actions that do not consider the role of, and potential impacts on biodiversity can have adverse consequences; therefore, such impacts must be assessed, and measures should be put in place to address them.

·         Application of biodiversity criteria and safeguards to climate change interventions can enhance the benefits and minimise the risks for biodiversity without jeopardising mitigation or adaptation objectives.

·         Multiple international agreements and national processes relevant to climate change and biodiversity should be implemented such that they are coordinated, mutually supportive and enhance synergies.


If you have any comments on the brief and its utility, or if you would like more information on the project that informed the brief, we would be delighted to hear from you – please contact robert.munroe@unep-wcmc.org


A limited number of hard copies are available upon request.