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GUIDE: The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land: What’s in it for South Asia?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Climate Change and Land: An IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems in August 2019. The Special Report was a response to proposals from governments and observer organisations to the IPCC. It assesses the existing science to date on how greenhouse gases are released and absorbed by land-based ecosystems, and the science on land use and sustainable land management in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation, desertification, land degradation and food security. The findings are of great importance to decision-makers across South Asia and the world.

Now CDKN – with ODI, SSN and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia – has launched a new publication: The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land: What’s in it for South Asia?

The IPCC’s own Summary for Policy-Makers focuses principally on global issues and trends. This report distils the richest material available on South Asia from the 1,300 pages of the Special Report.

Some of the IPCC’s key messages, which are explored in the CDKN guide include:

  • The climate and land interact with and influence each other.
  • Dryland areas are expected to become more vulnerable to desertification in South Asia.
  • Desertification has implications for food security and poverty in South Asia.
  • Community and policy responses can combat and degradation.
  • Managing land, value chains and climate risks can deliver climate adaptation, mitigation and development benefits.
  • Insecure property rights and lack of access to credit and agricultural advisory services hamper progress – especially by women.
  • The skills and knowledge of women and marginalised groups are not yet sufficiently recognised.
  • Integrated governance is needed to maximise the benefits of land and water.
  • Emissions reductions in other sectors are vital to relieve pressure on land.

The publication is not an official IPCC publication, as it has not been through the comprehensive governmental approval process that IPCC endorsement requires. However, the expert research team has benefited from review by IPCC lead authors in their personal capacities and other expert reviewers to ensure fidelity to the original report.

The CDKN publication also includes supplementary material from recently published research that extends and explains the points made in the IPCC’s Special Report.  This guide responds to widespread demand among CDKN’s South Asian partner networks for region-specific information.

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