Making biodiversity conservation "Climate Smart": adapting approaches for a changing climate

The valuable role ecosystems play in helping people to adapt to climate change has been well championed, including by IUCN, but how do we ensure that ecosystems themselves are able to adapt to a changing climate? Climate change is expected to have profound impacts on biodiversity with some estimates suggesting that up to a third of assessed species may be at elevated risk of extinction during this century. Currently, most species declines are caused by habitat degradation and loss, over-exploitation and invasive species, but climate change is expected to become an increasingly dominant pressure during this century. It is clear that current conservation approaches must rapidly be made "Climate Smart" if they are to continue to protect biodiversity in the face of this emerging threat.

To date, guidance on practical approaches to incorporating climate change considerations into conservation plans is sparse, particularly for the developing world. In response, the IUCN SSC´s newly constituted Climate Change Task Force is building on current efforts to develop best practice guidelines for climate change adaptation. Our workshop will support this aim by exploring emerging "Climate Smart" conservation approaches (e.g., the National Wildlife Federation-led guidelines for the US), including those for climate change vulnerability assessment and conservation planning. The discussion forum will enable members of the international conservation community to evaluate their utility at local, national and global scales and to share their own experiences and ideas in adapting conservation to climate change.

The timing of the World Conservation Congress is fortuitous given that the IUCN SSC Climate Change Task Force will have made significant progress in preparing much-needed best practice guidelines for "Climate Smart" conservation by the time of the congress. The workshop will provide a timely opportunity to showcase IUCN´s work and to elicit important input from the global conservation community

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