China, a major player in terms of climate change and biodiversity conservation – it is one of 12 mega-biodiversity countries in addition to being the currently largest absolute CO2 emitter – wants to create synergies for climate and biodiversity action on its path towards achieving green development and living in harmony with nature. IKI projects support this.
Focus on the link between climate change and biodiversity
To address the significant interlinkages between biodiversity conservation and climate action, the Sino-German Cooperation on Climate Change – Climate Partnership, which serves as the IKI Interface Project for China, brought together 26 projects across 15 implementation agencies for the IKI Interface Workshop 2022 held in China on 23 March. The annual workshop is designed to promote dialogue between the country’s IKI projects and to facilitate exchange on current issues in the fields of climate action and biodiversity. During the hybrid event, around 40 participants discussed the insights and challenges related to their project activities, identified synergies and established connections in their work. One of the key items on this year’s agenda was NDC implementation and how this can be harmonised with biodiversity conservation.
The wide thematic scope of the IKI China portfolio became apparent in the presentations and discussions. The workshop was split into two sessions, focusing on climate and biodiversity, respectively. The economic recovery in 2021 caused a rise in greenhouse gas emissions both in China and Germany, a clear indication of the slow pace of climate action in the two countries. The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), hosted by China, is expected to culminate in the formulation and adoption of a new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). With biodiversity protection and nature conservation gaining momentum in China, biodiversity-related issues are gradually featuring in cross-sector discussions.
China’s NDC update
One of the subjects addressed by the presentations and the discussion was China’s updated NDCs and their translation into national strategies. With the update, China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. In order to translate the NDC goals into national strategy, China has put in place a ‘1+N’ policy framework for carbon peak and carbon neutrality. ‘1’ refers to the long-term approach to combating climate change, while ‘N’ refers to solutions to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030. Another focus of the workshop was on the development of nature-based approaches to resolving the climate and biodiversity crises. In this context, there were discussions on developing ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation, creating local networks among farmers for biodiversity conservation at the community level, and setting up local communities of practice for nature-based solutions.
Another focal point of the participating projects was the role of finance. Project staff from green infrastructure projects shared their experiences of investments in low-carbon infrastructure and the development of sustainable energy strategies. It became apparent that financial streams affect both climate and biodiversity and that decision-makers need to be supported in promoting holistic financial projects that take account of the financial impact on both spheres.
In the ensuing discussion, there was a sense that the climate crisis cannot be solved without simultaneously addressing the loss of biodiversity. In China as in the rest of the world the wide-ranging aspects of biodiversity and climate change, and the need to strengthen mutual understanding through cooperation and also coordination to achieve effective and ambitious implementation need to be taken into focus. All projects have strongly committed themselves to doing just that.