Relationship between biodiversity and climate change vital to human well-being

CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee applauds emerging scientific research related to ecosystem-based adaptation and climate change

Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, 8 September 2016—Integrative, strategic solutions that put biodiversity at their core reduce risks and enhance resilience to climate change, the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) heard on Thursday at the committee’s first session of 2016.

“The discussions we had today demonstrate the ongoing dialogue of our collective efforts to communicate to leadership at local, national and trilateral levels the important relationship between biodiversity and climate change, a relationship that has implications for the well-being of the inhabitants of North America,” said Lindsay Brumwell, JPAC chair, who hosted the public forum in Mérida, Yucatán.

“It was particularly inspiring to hear from young scientists during our workshop on emerging scientific research related to ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. I encourage the public to view the scientists’ presentations to this forum on the CEC website.”

The JPAC forum focused on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity from an environmental and economic perspective. Participants who convened in-person and via live interactive webcast with experts from government, nongovernmental organizations, academia, industry and community groups also considered the vital contribution biodiversity makes to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and discussed ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) solutions.

Experts and other participants discussed both the impacts of climate change on biodiversity—issues ranging from extreme weather events to the migration of invasive species—and also natural climate solutions, such as storing carbon and enhancing resilience. Participants heard of the need to encourage innovative government policy and private sector and citizen solutions, as well as the need for leadership on the continent to execute on large coordinated strategic plans to ensure biodiversity is protected for future generations.

“The strong local and regional attendance at our forum in Mérida and online participation reaffirm JPAC’s vital role in ensuring public input on environmental issues through the CEC,” Brumwell said.

“JPAC advice to Council, stemming from sessions like today’s forum, represents an ‘early warning’ system that alerts governments to public concerns and areas where high-level cooperation and attention is needed. We are committed to strengthening this aspect of JPAC’s mandate within the CEC, as we believe being the bridge between the public and Council is as important today as it was 22 years ago.”

The JPAC forum was held in conjunction with the 23rd Annual Session of the CEC’s governing Council, which is composed of the cabinet-level environment ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The CEC Council meets each year to discuss its agenda for environmental cooperation in North America under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). JPAC is composed of 15 citizens, five from each country. It advises the Council and ensures public participation, openness and transparency in the actions of the CEC.

More information on JPAC can be found at: www.cec.org/jpac.

The next JPAC public meeting will be held on 7-8 November in Ottawa, Ontario.

Follow the CEC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CECconnect and via Twitter at @CECWeb.