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Brazil hosts conference on the impacts of climate

Brazil hosts conference on the impacts of climate change in semi-arid regions

Fortaleza (Ceará) will receive in August the Second International Conference: Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions – ICID 2010.

The meeting involves more than 90 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and about 2,000 participants, and aims to include effectively the issues related to the effects of global warming in arid and semi-arid areas in the national and international agendas.

The Conference will generate, consolidate and synthesize data and studies on climate change and will identify actions to promote sustainable development in semi-arid regions of the planet. It is promoted by the Centre for Management and Strategic Studies (CGEE), in partnership with the Ministries of the Environment and of Science and Technology, the State Government of Ceará and national and international institutes of research.

The expectation is that actors involved in this agenda, including policy makers, scientists, representatives of international organizations, civil society and private sector have the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge obtained on semi-arid regions issues over the past 20 years, as variability, vulnerability, socioeconomic and environmental impacts, adaptation actions and sustainable development.

They will make recommendations to assist in the creation and implementation of public policies for sustainable development in these areas.

About 35% of the world populations live in arid and semi-arid areas, which represent 41% of the planet´s surface.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), these regions will be the most affected by global climate change. Despite this scenario, the inhabitants of these areas are still underrepresented in discussions such as COP-15.

In Brazil, 1,482 municipalities of the semi-arid regions which concentrate most of the country´s poverty are directly affected by the problem, according to the National Programme for Combating Desertification and Mitigating the Effects of Drought.

Studies also indicate that nearly 20% of the Brazilian semi-arid regions will be gravely affected, resulting in environmental and socioeconomic consequences, such as soil degradation and compromised food production, extinction of native species and degradation of water resources.

The Conference is organized into four main themes: Climate and Environment; Climate and Sustainable Development; Governance and Sustainable Development; and Political Processes and Institutions.

History

The first International Conference: Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions took place in 1992, also in Fortaleza. In its first edition, the meeting was attended by some 1,200 participants from 45 countries.

Created as a preparatory event for the Rio-92, the ICID has provided scientific data and information on the semi-arid regions in the world and managed to open the eyes of the Northeast Intelligence to problems in these areas in Brazil.

The first ICID had a huge impact, both nationally and internationally. “The papers displayed during the first ICID and the Declaration of Fortaleza with policy recommendations for the arid and semi-arid regions were taken to Rio in 1992.

Many participants from Africa and Asia also arrived in Rio in 1992 as negotiators”, said Antonio Rocha Magalhaes, executive coordinator of the Conference. The first edition of the ICID has also served as a decisive factor for the creation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Several studies and publications that will provide subsidies for the 2010 meeting are derived from discussions of the first ICID.

Between the ICID first and second editions, three conventions were adopted and put into operation: the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (UNCBD). They all contribute in synergy to strengthen the fight against desertification and preserve the biodiversity present in the arid and semi-arid regions around the globe.

The expectation is that the ICID in 2010 will have the same impact as a preparatory conference in events such as the Rio+20.

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