(Dubai, UAE — 28 November 2023) - IFAW will be on-site in Dubai for COP28 next week, urging governments and other stakeholders to recognize the critical role wildlife conservation can play in supercharging the urgent efforts needed to confront the climate crisis.
The 28th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly referred to as COP28, will take stock of progress to date in reaching the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
With the world currently woefully off target and heading for close to 3°C of warming, there is a growing understanding of the importance of nature in combatting climate change. But discussion of nature-based solutions to date has tended to focus on critical ecosystems for addressing climate change —forests, wetlands, mangroves, or seagrasses – as if these are static spaces that exist in isolation from their component parts—including animals—that enable them to function and absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.
“Despite inadequate action to date, we can still reach the Paris Agreement goals, but only if we halt and reverse nature loss. Wild animals are some of our most powerful allies, driving ecosystem processes that capture carbon from the atmosphere – we need to harness this role as a nature-based solution to the climate crisis,” said Simon Addison, IFAW’s Climate Change Advisor.
Wild animals both protect the carbon already stored in nature, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere, and help nature soak up and store even more carbon. Recent scientific evidence has shown the remarkable potential of wild animals to mitigate climate change. It is estimated that protecting and restoring populations of only nine species and species groups—marine fish, whales, sharks, grey wolf, wildebeest, sea otter, musk ox, African forest elephants, and American bison—could collectively facilitate the capture of more than 95% of the amount of CO2 needed every year to help keep global warming below the 1.5°C threshold. Yet this potential has remained largely unrecognized in discussions at climate COPs so far.
“Restoring wild animal populations offers an inspirational vision and practical action we can take to combat climate change today,” added Addison. “We must protect wild animals not just for their intrinsic or iconic value, but also for the role they play in helping to regulate the climate. This means restoring native populations of key wildlife species, such as elephants, whales, sharks, sea otters, and wolves, so that they can fulfil their crucial role in shaping forests, grasslands, and the ocean, enhancing the carbon cycle one paw, trunk, or fin at a time.”
IFAW experts at COP28:
Contact us for approachable expert commentary in a variety of languages. Full bios are provided at the link below, and all media requests can be directed to Stacey Hedman at email@example.com and +1 508 737 2558 (phone or WhatsApp).
- Azzedine Downes, CEO & President, IFAW (English, French, Arabic)
- Matt Collis, Deputy Vice President of Policy, IFAW
- Simon Addison, Climate Change Advisor, IFAW
- Dr. Jimmiel Mandima, Vice President of Global Programs, IFAW (English, Shona)
- Vivek Menon, Founder & CEO, Wildlife Trust of India (English, Hindi)
- Dr. Akram Eissa Darwich (Arabic)
- Dr. Nabegh Asswad (English, Arabic)
- 30 November (6pm UAE / 2pm UK / 9am US), an online media briefing with Simon Addison
- 1-2 December, World Climate Action Summit – day when summit will welcome world leaders to present their progress and ambitions across all pillars of the Paris Agreement
- 9 December, COP28 official theme day for “Nature, Land Use, and Oceans”
- 9 December, release of IFAW report Wildlife Conservation and Ecosystem Protection: Missed opportunities for climate action in Africa and the LDCs
News and updates:
IFAW will be posting live at @ifawglobal on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Expert perspectives will be published at ifaw.org/news. Our latest COP28 subjects can be explored at the below:
- In a changing climate, should we intervene or allow landscapes to evolve on their own? (ifaw.org)
- Wild animals are the unsung heroes of climate action (ifaw.org)
- Wildlife conservation makes people resilient to changing climate (ifaw.org)
- African marine conservation could turn the tide on climate change (ifaw.org)
- What is landscape restoration? (ifaw.org)
IFAW will be hosting and/or contributing to a dozen events at COP28. For detailed information and to join the discussion, please reference our full agenda HERE.
- 2 December, Ecological Loss and Damage: Understanding impacts and catalysing action
- 6 December, Building climate resilient land- and seascapes: How protecting, restoring and effectively managing biodiverse landscapes across border delivers multiple benefits for people, nature and climate
- 10 December, Harnessing the power of wildlife to tackle the climate crisis
- 11 December, Operationalising Article 5 of the Paris Agreement to ramp up ambition for nature-based solutions
Director of Communications, Global Programs at IFAW
+1 508 737 2558 (phone or WhatsApp)
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