Emerging policy issues

IUCN should also address other crucial challenges at the Rio 2012 conference from which the following could be identified:


Water and the green economy

Water plays a crucial role in the green economy and there is a strong justification for including the issue of water in the IUCN package of positions for Rio. Many developing as well as developed countries expressed interest in discussing water at the conference. Access to water in the context of the Millenium Development Goals and in the context of ecosystem services and resilience is a subject where IUCN can play an important role in providing relevant technical information as well as in convening major countries and players to establish an effective process. Water is central to the issue of balancing natural and built infrastructure. At the same time, water is deeply related to governance and rights issues. Rio 2012 is also an opportunity to “validate” or adopt through an intergovernmental process the outcomes that will result from the 6th World Water Forum to be held in March 2012. IUCN’s Global Water Programme with other components of the Union is well placed to design this part of IUCN’s intervention.

Oceans issues at Rio:

There is great interest among some governments to include marine issues in the discussions leading to Rio, in particular the issue of Oceans governance. Some delegates are making reference to a Blue Economy. IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme is working on various fronts to ensure that the Rio discussions help advance negotiations on marine issues.

IUCN Position Paper on Oceans Bridging Oceans governance frameworks : See below " GOVERNANCE FOR FISHERIES & MARINE CONSERVATION: Interactions and co-evolution" to be published soon

3. Forest issues at Rio

Forests are much more than just trees used for firewood or furniture. They play a vital role to protect our global environment, not only because they are our planet’s lungs but also because they have immense potential to lessen the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, they are essential for biodiversity because they are a source of food and clean water. The issue of forest will certainly be included in discussions leading up to the Rio conference. IUCN’s Global Forest Programme is working through the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF) among other partnerships, to build a position for Rio.

  • Willows in Skadar National Park

Dr Mark SMITH, Head of IUCN's Water Programme, explains the link between water management issues and climate change adaptation.

How does climate change affect the oceans and marine biodiversity?

In the last few centuries we have removed more than half of the world's forest cover. Deforestation is currently responsible for nearly 20 per cent of global carbon emissions. We need to reduce this tide of deforestation, but we can make a much greater impact if we also put back some of our lost forests.