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Background

COP 10

In Nagoya, at the tenth meting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in October 2010, three major documents were adopted: a new international protocol on access and benefit-sharing, a resource mobilization strategy, and a new ten year Strategic Plan to guide international and national efforts to save biodiversity through enhanced action. Targets of the new Strategic Plan aimed to enhance forest biodiversity include, inter alia, a target to at least halve, and where feasible bring close to zero, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, and to significantly reduce degradation and fragmentation (Target 5). Other targets are to manage areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry sustainably (Target 7); conserve at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas (Target 11); and enhance the resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification (Target 15).

Regarding forest biodiversity, the COP adopted specifically decision X/36, which requests to the Executive Secretary to streamline forest-related reporting, based on the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Task Force on Streamlining Forest-related Reporting, including by organizing, in collaboration with FAO, a meeting of the Task Force, prior to COP 11, to investigate whether there are inadequacies in forest biodiversity reporting and monitoring. Other requests include further capacity-building on how forest biodiversity and climate change could be better addressed in national biodiversity and forest policies; further collaboration with the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and other cooperation mechanisms on restoring forest ecosystems; collaboration with FAO in the preparation of its report on The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources; exploration of the possibility for developing a workplan together with the Low Forest Cover Countries Secretariat; and development of a module of the TEMATEA tool on international commitments related to forest biodiversity. Furthermore, the COP invites the CPF to closely collaborate in implementing the CBD’s programme of work on forest biodiversity and the forest-related targets of the Strategic Plan, and to exchange information on measures that promote forest law enforcement and address related trade to increase mutually supportive application of such measures.

Decision X/32, on sustainable use of biodiversity takes note of the recommendations of the Liaison Group on Bushmeat and invites Parties and other Governments to implement them, where appropriate. The decision also requests the Executive Secretary, in order to support current and future livelihood needs and to reduce unsustainable use of bushmeat, to develop, through the Liaison Group on Bushmeat and in cooperation with other relevant organizations, options for small-scale food and income alternatives in tropical and sub tropical countries based on the sustainable use of biodiversity. Further requests to the Executive Secretary in decision X/32 include compiling, in collaboration with CPF members and other relevant organizations, information on how to improve sustainable use of biodiversity in a landscape perspective, including on sectoral policies, international guidelines, and best practices for sustainable agriculture and forestry, including a review of relevant criteria and indicators. The decision also requests the Executive Secretary and invites Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to support, as appropriate, the promotion of the sustainable use of biodiversity, including the Satoyama Initiative.

Finally, decision X/33, on biodiversity and climate change contains several paragraphs related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD-plus). The decision invites Parties and other Governments to enhance the benefits for, and avoid negative impacts on biodiversity from REDD-plus, and other sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use activities. It also requests the Executive Secretary to collaborate with CPF members and other organizations to provide advice, for approval by COP 11, including on the application of relevant safeguards for biodiversity, without pre-empting any future decisions taken under the UNFCCC, so that actions on REDD-plus are consistent with the objectives of the CBD; and to identify possible indicators to assess the contribution of REDD-plus to achieving these objectives and assess potential mechanisms to monitor impacts on biodiversity from REDD-plus and other ecosystem-based approaches for climate change mitigation. Decision X/33 further requests the Executive Secretary to include biodiversity considerations related to REDD-plus and the recommendations of the Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of REDD-plus, held in Nairobi, Kenya, 20 to 23 September, 2010 when conveying a proposal to develop joint activities between the three Rio Conventions to the Secretariats of the UNFCCC and UNCCD.

COP 9

At the ninth meeting of the COP (May 2008), Parties reviewed the POW, and, in decision IX/5, decided to continue to strengthen its implementation, and agreed to address as a matter of priority major human-induced threats to forest biodiversity, including unregulated and unsustainable use of forest products and resources (including unsustainable hunting and trade of bushmeat, and their impacts on non-target species), climate change, desertification and desert creep, illegal land conversion, habitat fragmentation, environmental degradation, forest fires and invasive alien species.

Parties also adopted a decision on the use of genetically modified (GM) trees, whereby they reaffirmed the need to take a precautionary approach; to authorize their release only after completion of studies in containment; to consider their potential socio-economic impacts, as well as their potential impact on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities; acknowledged the entitlement of Parties to suspend their release; to further engage to develop specific risk-assessment criteria; to collaborate with relevant organizations on guidance for risk assessment of GM trees and guidance addressing their potential negative and positive environmental and socio-economic impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity; and to provide the available information and the scientific evidence regarding the overall effects of GM trees on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to the Executive Secretary for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism;

The COP also requested the Executive Secretary to carry out a number of tasks to support Parties in implementing the programme of work, including facilitating regional, subregional and/or thematic workshops, in close cooperation with existing international, regional and subregional processes, initiatives and organizations.

COP 8

At COP 8, in March 2006, the Parties agreed on the process for reviewing the implementation of the forest work programme at their ninth meeting in 2008 (paragraph 12 and annex to decision VIII/19).

In addition to the in-depth review of the programme of work, COP 8 requested the Executive Secretary to undertake the following mandates: to convene at least one meeting of the AHTEG under the terms of reference agreed in paragraph 26 of decision VI/22 in order to complete its original mandate; to strengthen collaboration with relevant organizations such as members of the CPF, in order to produce a toolkit on cross-sectoral, integrated approaches, to synergize the existing information on the implementation of national forest programmes and national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and to compile lessons learned from paragraph 19 of decision VI/22 (decision VIII/19, paragraph 4); to collect and collate existing information on the impacts of genetically modified trees (decision VIII/19, paragraphs 10 and 11); and to increase representation for bio-geographical regions with little or no current representation in the membership of the AHTEG (decision VIII/19, paragraph 13).

In collaboration with the members of the CPF, Parties and other relevant organizations, the Secretariat is currently in the process of an in-depth review, analysing the information contained in the forest section of the third national reports and other relevant information, as delineated in the annex to the decision VIII/19.

COP 7

At its seventh meeting, in 2004 (decision VII/1), the COP welcomed the progress made on the implementation of the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity as a significant contribution to achieving the 2010 biodiversity target (decision VII/30) and achieving sustainable forest management at national, regional, and global levels.

In this context, the COP, in decision VII/1 requested the Executive Secretary to: continue and further strengthen its work in the study on the effects of insufficient forest law enforcement on forest biological diversity, as requested in paragraph 19(e) of decision VI/22; organize another meeting of the AHTEG prior to the eleventh meeting of the SBSTTA; propose, in collaboration with the AHTEG on the Review of Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity, outcome-oriented targets to be integrated into the work programme for consideration by the SBSTTA prior to the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, taking into account regionally and internationally agreed criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management through intergovernmental processes; continue its collaboration with other members of the CPF in their efforts to harmonize and streamline forest-related reporting; facilitate the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities and other relevant stakeholders in implementing the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity by developing local capacities and participatory mechanisms, including women, in assembling, disseminating, and synthesizing information on relevant scientific and traditional knowledge on forest biological diversity.

At the national level, the COP invited Parties to provide any further views on the preliminary assessment undertaken by the Executive Secretary on the relationship between the IPF/IFF proposals for action of the United Nations Forum on Forests and the activities of the work programme; to take part in, and further develop, cooperation at the regional level in their efforts at implementing the activities contained in the work programme; to enhance cross-sectoral integration and inter-sectoral collaboration on the implementation of the work programme at national and sub-national levels; and to enhance their efforts in implementing the programme of work on forest biological diversity as an essential contribution towards advancing the 2010 global biodiversity target.

COP 6

At its sixth meeting, the COP adopted the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity (decision VI/22, paragraph 10, annex). The COP, while leaving countries to set their national priorities, proposed guidance on activities to be carried out urgently at the global and international level to address issues such as the application of the ecosystem approach, climate change, non-timber forest resources, forest fires, and collaboration with other bodies. Within this context, the COP requested the Executive Secretary of the CBD to initiate a number of actions to be reported to SBSTTA 9 and COP 7, to facilitate and complemente the national implementation of the expanded programme of work (decision VI/22, paragraph 19). The COP also agreed to establish an AHTEG to provide advice to SBSTTA in the review of the implementation of the programme of work (decision VI/22, paragraph 26).

At the national level, the COP urged Parties to incorporate relevant objectives of the expanded programme of work into their national biodiversity strategies and action plans and their national forest programmes (decision VI/22, paragraph 28), to address the effectiveness of forest-related laws (decision VI/22 paragraph 30) and to recognize the vital role that women in indigenous and local communities play in the sustainable use and conservation of forest biological diversity (decision VI/22, paragraph 32).

With regards to collaboration on specific issues, the COP requested the Secretariat to continue its support of and collaboration with the work of the United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF) and of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) (decision VI/22, paragraphs 36, 37). Collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme was also stressed (decision VI/22, paragraph 40). The COP also urged the CPF to consider the Secretariat of the CBD to be the focal point for forest biological diversity within the CPF (decision VI/22, paragraph 39).

Pursuant to decision VI/22, paragraph 26 (a), an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on the Review of Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity was established; it held its first meeting in November 2003 and provided initial recommendations on how to assess progress in the implementation of the work programme for its in-depth review at the ninth meeting of the COP.

COP 5

COP 5 reviewed implementation of the work programme and called for its further implementation by Parties, relevant organizations and the Executive Secretary (decision V/4). It also called for the Executive Secretary to contribute to the work of the United Nations Forum on Forests (decision V/4, paragraph 3). COP 5 decided that at its sixth meeting it would consider expanding the focus of the programme from research to practical action. It also called on Parties to take a number of practical steps to address urgently the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity, noting that such work should contribute to the future work of the United Nations Forum on Forests in the context of and in support of the programme of work for forest biological diversity (decision V/4, paragraphs 1-3, 7-10 and 13). The COP further invited Parties to submit a report on forest ecosystems to the Executive Secretary for consideration by COP 6 (decision V/19, paragraph 8).

The COP established an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on forest biological diversity to provide advice on scientific programmes and international cooperation in research and development, to carry out a review of available information on status, trends and threats to forest biological diversity and to identify options and suggest priority actions for the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity (decision V/4 paragraphs 4-6 and annex). This group reported to SBSTTA 7. COP 5 asked SBSTTA for advice on a number of relevant matters, including the impacts of climate change, human-induced uncontrolled forest fires and harvesting of non-timber forest products on forest biological diversity (decision V/4, paragraphs 11, 12, 14). Forest biodiversity was the focus of the work of SBSTTA 7.

The COP repeatedly emphasized the importance of ensuring that future activities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were consistent with and supportive of the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, noting that cooperation with this Convention should be strengthened (decision V/4, paragraphs 11, 16-20; decision V/21, paragraph 3).

COP 4

COP 4 endorsed a work programme for forest biological diversity (decision IV/7, paragraph 1, annex), which has since been retired. It urged Parties, countries, international and regional organizations, major groups and other relevant bodies to collaborate in carrying out the task identified in the work programme (decision IV/7, paragraph 2).

COP 4 urged the GEF to give high priority to the allocation of resources to activities that advance the objectives of the Convention in respect of forest biological diversity (decision IV/7, paragraph 5, decision V/13, paragraph 2(b)(iii)). The COP provided some specific guidance to the GEF on financial support for activities relating to the work programme on forest biological diversity (decision IV/7, paragraph 6; decision IV/13, paragraph 4) and has urged Parties to propose projects that promote the implementation of the work programme (decision IV/7, paragraph 7). The COP also requested the financial mechanism to consider the operational objectives of the work programme as a guidance for funding in the field of forest biological diversity, and to assist in implementation of the work programme at the national, regional and subregional level (decision IV/7, paragraph 8). In its long-term programme of work, the COP decided that forests would be one of the three priority themes for COP 6 (decision IV/16, annex I).

COP 3

At its third meeting, in 1996, the COP endorsed recommendation II/8 of SBSTTA regarding further input to the IPF (decision III/12, paragraph 2, annex). COP 3 also requested the Secretariat to develop a focused work programme for forest biological diversity, in accordance with certain guidance provided in decision III/12, paragraph 6. In developing the work programme, the Executive Secretary was asked to work closely with IPF and other relevant institutions. Parties to the Convention were encouraged to assist with the development of the work programme (decision III/12, paragraph 7). The COP requested SBSTTA to advise on the draft work programme and report back to COP 4 in May 1998 (decision III/12, paragraph 9). COP 3 also directed SBSTTA, in the light of the proposed work programme and the research and technical priorities it had identified in recommendation II/8, to advance its scientific, technical and technological consideration of forest biological diversity by initially focusing on development of criteria and indicators for the conservation of biological diversity and analysing the ways in which human activities, in particular forest-management practices, influence biological diversity and assessment of ways to minimize or mitigate negative influences (decision III/12, paragraph 10).

In order to be able to draw effectively upon the active assistance of all Parties (as requested in paragraph 7 of decision III/12), the Secretariat established a roster of experts on forest biological diversity (which ended its mandate following COP 8). Drawing on the roster, the Secretariat convened a meeting of a liaison group on forest biological diversity in Helsinki from 25 to 28 May 1997, at the invitation of the Government of Finland. The liaison group identified a number of potential elements for a work programme on forest biological diversity.

At its third meeting, SBSTTA considered a draft work programme on forest biological diversity and the report of the liaison group meeting. SBSTTA submitted recommendation III/3 to COP 4.

COP 2

COP 2 adopted a statement from the Convention to the IPF on biological diversity and forests (decision II/9 paragraph 1, annex). It also requested the Executive Secretary to produce a background document on the links between forests and biological diversity in order to consider at COP 3, whether further input into the IPF process was required (decision II/9 paragraph 2(b)). The COP also requested the Executive Secretary to provide advice and information on the relationship between indigenous and local communities and forests, as invited by the Inter-Agency Task Force of the IPF (decision II/9 paragraph 2(a)).

SBSTTA 2 recommended that the COP ask the Executive Secretary to explore ways and means to cooperate with the IPF with a view to developing common priorities for further consideration at SBSTTA 3, taking into account certain research and technical priorities identified by SBSTTA (SBSTTA recommendation II/8, paragraph 2). It also recommended certain additional inputs to the IPF.

COP 1

In 1994, at its first meeting, the COP requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to consider concrete steps through which the COP could start the process of considering the components of biological diversity, particularly those under threat, and to identify actions that could be taken under the Convention (decision I/7). In its consideration of this agenda item, SBSTTA 1 noted, inter alia, the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and recommended that the COP consider whether an input into the IPF would be desirable (SBSTTA recommendation I/3, paragraph 8). SBSTTA 1 further suggested the main elements to be considered.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme