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Climate change: biodiversity and livelihood impacts

Publication date:
H. Reid
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This publication considers the linkages between climate change (mitigation and adaptation) and biodiversity, and then relates these linkages to livelihoods, poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It concludes with some suggestions for actions needed at global, national and local levels in order to support local solutions.Poor people generally rely heavily on their environment and natural resource base for their livelihoods, and they are vulnerable to shocks. Conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem integrity may be key objectives towards improving the adaptive capacity of such groups to cope with climate change. Unfortunately the role of local processes in addressing climate change, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction is often overlooked – or undermined.Tools such as the ecosystem approach, incorporating climate concerns and environmental assessments should be adopted. Capturing and measuring the true value of environmental goods and services is important. Nationally, policies that benefit biodiversity, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and poverty reduction need promotion. In particular, development activities should integrate responses to climate risks and thereby minimise the impacts of climate change. Good governance, effective land tenure reform and common property resource management are important criteria. Local knowledge and previous coping strategies to climate variability should be recognised, and local people should be able to prioritise their own efforts to reduce climate-related vulnerability through biodiversity management and restoration activities that sustain and diversify local livelihoods.