Walking the talk of climate ambition – why that walk needs nature too: Make Change Happen podcast episode 14

In this episode of Make Change Happen, we learn why it is important to include nature in Nationally Determined Contributions and how to increase ambition and actions for nature and climate to address the crises of climate change, nature loss and rising inequalities.

Article, 01 November 2021
UN climate change conference (COP26)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2021 UNFCCC climate change summit in Glasgow

IIED’s ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides an opportunity to hear our researchers and guests discuss key global development challenges and explain what we are doing to support positive change. 

In this episode, we hear experts discuss the connections between the climate emergency, loss of biodiversity and rising inequalities, and why it is important to include nature in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to address these crises globally.

Hosted by Liz Carlile, this podcast features Nathalie Seddon, IIED associate, professor of biodiversity and director of the Nature Based Solutions initiative at the University of Oxford, which IIED is a partner of; Bob Natifu, acting commissioner on climate change in the Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda; Maria Caballero Espejo, climate adaptation specialist from the Ministry of Environment of Peru (website in Spanish); Sarshen Scorgie, director of climate strategy at Conservation South Africa; and Harriet Drani, programme officer at IUCN in Uganda.

It’s about climate and nature

Countries that signed the Paris Agreement on climate change are required to outline and communicate their climate actions in NDCs. These are non-binding national plans that form the basis for countries to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

However, as Nathalie Seddon argues in this episode, we cannot meet our climate goals unless we work with nature. “We need to massively scale up the restoration, connection and protection of our natural and semi-natural ecosystems, not only land but also in the sea,” she explains. And the poorest nations are leading the way in working with nature to tackle climate change.

In this podcast our guests share why and how developing countries are incorporating nature-based solutions (NbS) in their NDCs to increase and deliver their climate ambitions.

Bob Natifu highlights how NbS (like conservation of forests and wetlands) are low-hanging fruits and essential for Uganda to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Harriet Drani shares how Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge can inform how NbS can be implemented to help deliver Uganda’s climate ambitions.

Both Sarshen Scorgie and Maria Caballero Espejo discuss how NbS is not only important for tackling climate change but can also deliver multiple social, environmental and economic benefits comparing to other strategies. Espejo also shares how a participatory approach for developing NDCs can help incorporate Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge on working with nature and catalyse wide societal support for both mitigation and adaptation actions including NbS.

For this year’s COP26 and COP15 to be successful, countries must mobilise finance and put in place the right finance mechanisms that can channel money to where it matters to support integrated approaches to address mitigation and adaptation together. All guests highlight their hopes and suggestions to make us all walk the talk of climate ambition in COP26 and beyond.

Additional resources:  


Head and shoulders photo of Sarshen Scorgie

Sarshen Scorgie is the climate and strategy advisor for Conservation South Africa, an affiliate of Conservation International, where she has worked for 13 years. She has expertise in ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation, with a focus on policy and finance in the land use sector.

Head and shoulders photo of Harriet Drani

Harriet Drani is programme officer and coordinator of nature and ecosystems-based adaptation programme at IUCN Uganda country office. Her expertise is in stakeholder engagement and policy advocacy in natural resources management and climate change.

Head and shoulders photo of Bob Natifu

Bob Natifu is the focal point for UN CC:Learn activities in Uganda, serving as senior climate change officer-outreach with the climate change department in the Ministry of Water and Environment

Head and shoulders photo of Maria Caballero Espejo

Maria Caballero Espejo is climate change scenarios and climate hazards specialist at the Ministry of Environment of Peru (website in Spanish). She coordinates and carries out technical monitoring of scientific information related to the climate system, climate variability and climate change.

Head and shoulders photo of Nathalie Seddon

Nathalie Seddon is professor of biodiversity and founding director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative at the University of Oxford. Nathalie trained as an ecologist at Cambridge University and has over 20 years' research experience in a range of ecosystems across the globe. She is a senior associate of IIED, and she also guides governments, UN agencies and businesses on nature-based solutions.

Head and shoulders photo of Liz Carlile

Liz Carlile (host) is director of the Communications Group at IIED. She is an expert in strategic marketing and communications, with a particular focus on research communications and policy influence, and has published on social learning and climate change communications.

How to listen and subscribe 

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences. The title refers to IIED’s 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out how IIED plans to respond to the critical challenges of our time. 

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel

You can follow some of the people you have heard in this episode on Twitter at @lizcarlile and @NathalieSeddon. Follow the podcast on @IIED_Voices for all the latest updates.