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Mainstreaming climate change responses in economic development of Uruguay

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W. Baethgen
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This paper assess Uruguay’s greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance, in addition to reviewing policies, plans and regulations which have resulted in land use changes and new forested areas with significant implications for climate change. The paper also explores programs that can result in both socioeconomic development and an increased ability to mitigate climate change.The author stresses that the real opportunities for mainstreaming responses to climate change in national planning lie within the context of sectoral, environmental and economic policies. The paper’s analysis highlights Uruguay’s efforts and potentials for mainstreaming carbon-sequestration within the agricultural, forestry and energy sectors.The author notes a significant intersection between sectoral and climate change priorities, that can be seen in carbon dioxide sequestration in the agriculture and forestry sectors, responsible for more than 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. The author highlights that in the case of Uraguary, the impact of sectoral policies have been driven by conservation or economic development objectives on carbon-sequestration.The paper highlights a number of government actions that could improve mitigation of climate change through net carbon dioxide sequestration and emissions reductions, including:promotion of forest management practices aiming at obtaining significant volumes of timber suitable for long-lived productsinvestments in the development of technology for increasing forest productivity and proportion of high value logsincrease the area of improved pastures and improve their productivityexplore possible strategies to reduce the amount of methane emittedensure that the new annual crop areas are sown using as little till as possible and that it is done with accompanying areas of new improved pasturespromotion of use of wood and rice husks in electricity generation, based on small-scale units dispersed over the territory.The paper emphasises that strategic sectoral policies can create considerable synergies between climate change objectives, natural resource management and economic development priorities.This paper was presented at the OECD Global Forum on Sustainable Development: Development and Climate Change, Paris 2004. [adapted from author]