Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson, Yves Le Bouthillier, Heather McLeod-Kilmurray and Stepan Wood
Chapter 9: Adaptation to Climate Change to Save Biodiversity: Lessons Learned from African and European Experiences
Saja Erens, Jonathan Verschuuren and Kees Bastmeijer* 1. INTRODUCTION Climate change is increasing the pressure on the dwindling biodiversity of the Earth. In 2004, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)1 requested all Parties to ‘integrate climate change adaptation measures in protected area planning, management strategies, and in the design of protected area systems’.2 IUCN experts have explained that certain organisms ‘will move along altitudinal gradients in response to climate change’ and that establishing networks of protected areas may in most parts of the world be crucial for species of plants and animals to adapt to climate change.3 In the current battle to minimize actual and projected climate change impacts on persistently declining biodiversity, a great deal of faith is placed in the creation of ecological networks and large protected areas. We examine the role played by these two approaches in current legislative efforts to address the negative effects of climate change on biodiversity. While recognizing the urgent need to designate and protect marine areas to conserve marine biodiversity, we focus here on the terrestrial environment. The goal of comparing African and European experiences is not to decide which continent is doing a ‘better job’. This would require development of an objective framework to make judgements, but this is not what is emphasized. Furthermore, such an approach is likely to disrespect the differences between the two regions, for instance in respect of ecological values, climate change sensitivity or the intensity and characteristics of...
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