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COP 2 Decision II/9
Retired sections: paragraphs 1, 2(b) and 4.

FORESTS AND BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

The Conference of the Parties,

1. Decides to invite its President to transmit the Statement contained in the annex to this decision to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests at its second meeting;

2. Requests the Executive Secretary:

    (a) To provide advice and information pertaining to the relationship between indigenous and local communities and forests, as invited by the Inter-Agency Task Force of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests;
    (b) To commission and carry out work on forests and biological diversity, with a view to producing a background document on the links between forests and biological diversity in order to consider, at its third meeting, whether further input to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests is required, and to transmit this document to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests for information;
    (c) To invite all Parties, relevant intergovernmental agencies and bodies to contribute to the preparation of the documents on forests and biological diversity to be prepared by the Executive Secretary, and to welcome the input of other Governments, non-governmental organizations and indigenous and local communities;

3. Invites all Parties to include expertise on forest biological diversity in their delegations to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests;

4. Invites the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests to communicate progress on issues relevant to forests and biological diversity to the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties.


Annex to decision II/9

STATEMENT ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AND FORESTS FROMTHE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY TO THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS

1. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity welcomes the decision by the Commission on Sustainable Development to establish an open-ended Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) to pursue consensus and coordinated proposals for action to support the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests.

2. Wishing to avoid duplication of efforts and coordinate with other relevant organizations on issues of biological diversity, the Conference of the Parties stands ready to contribute to the fulfilment of the mandate of the IPF.

3. Keeping in mind the crucial role of forests in maintaining global biological diversity, the Conference of the Parties wishes to establish a dialogue with the IPF on issues related to forests and biological diversity.

4. Together, tropical, temperate and boreal forests provide the most diverse sets of habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms, holding the vast majority of the world's terrestrial species. This diversity is the fruit of evolution, but also reflects the combined influence of the physical environment and people.

5. The maintenance of forest ecosystems is crucial to the conservation of biological diversity well beyond their boundaries, and for the key role they play in global climate dynamics and bio-geochemical cycles. Forests provide ecological services and, at the same time, livelihoods or jobs for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

6. Forest biological diversity results from evolutionary processes over thousands and even millions of years which, in themselves, are driven by ecological forces such as climate, fire, competition and disturbance. Furthermore, the diversity of forest ecosystems (in both physical and biological features) results in high levels of adaptation, a feature of forest ecosystems which is an integral component of their biological diversity. Within specific forest ecosystems, the maintenance of ecological processes is dependent upon the maintenance of their biological diversity. Loss of biological diversity within individual ecosystems can result in lower resilience.

7. Forests are becoming degraded and their biological diversity is being lost. The loss of forest biological diversity is linked to the substantial deforestation, fragmentation and degradation of all types of forests. The reasons for the loss of forest biological diversity are many, both direct and indirect, and the Conference of the Parties takes note of the Terms of Reference of the IPF in this regard. (IPF Agenda item I.2.)

8. Forests and forest biological diversity play important economic, social and cultural roles in the lives of many indigenous and local communities. The Convention on Biological Diversity addresses specifically the need to respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, as well as the need to protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices. It also encourages countries to cooperate in the development and use of indigenous and traditional technologies, and encourages the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices, in pursuance of the objectives of the Convention. Articles 8(j), 10(c) and 18.4 of the Convention provide the general framework for this.

9. In addition, the Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes in Article 15 the sovereign rights of States over their genetic resources and also recognizes that the authority to determine access to these resources rests with the national Governments and is subject to national legislation. It also states that each Contracting Party shall endeavour to create conditions to facilitate access to genetic resources for environmentally sound uses by other Contracting Parties and not to impose restrictions that run counter to the objectives of the Convention. Such access, including forest-based genetic resources, shall be subject to prior informed consent by the Party providing such resources and shall be on mutually agreed terms. Measures shall be taken with the aim of sharing in a fair and equitable way the results of research and development and the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources with the party providing such resources. Such sharing shall be on mutually agreed terms.

10. The Conference of the Parties emphasizes and requests the IPF to acknowledge the need to integrate the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies (Convention on Biological Diversity Article 6 (b)). The Conference of the Parties requests the IPF to note that it intends to explore how the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity could be assisted by the establishment of specific environmental goals in the forest and other sectors. The Conference of the Parties also requests the IPF to consider appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment of sectoral activities, plans, programmes and policies with expected negative impact on forest ecosystems (Convention on Biological Diversity Article 14). (IPF Agenda item I.2)

11. The Conference of the Parties notes the mandate of the IPF concerning methods for the proper valuing of the multiple benefits derived from forests. In this context, it requests the IPF to consider the economic (monetized and non-monetized) benefits, the environmental services and non-consumptive values provided by forest biological diversity, including the important cultural, religious and recreational values of forests. (IPF Agenda items III.1 and IV.1.)

12. The Conference of the Parties recognizes the need to develop and implement methods for sustainable forest management which combine production goals, socio-economic goals of forest-dependent local communities, and environmental goals, particularly those related to biological diversity. Sustainable forest management should ensure that components of biological diversity are used in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs of present and future generations (Convention on Biological Diversity Article 2). Sustainable forest management should take an ecosystem approach and aim at securing forest quality as related to the Convention on Biological Diversity, comprising such elements as forest composition, natural regeneration, patterns of ecosystem variation, ecosystem functions and ecosystem processes over time. Special attention should be paid to components of biological diversity under threat. (IPF Agenda items III.2 and I.5.)

13. In-situ forest conservation activities in accordance with Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, including the establishment and management of protected areas, have an important role to play in the achievement of biological diversity goals for sustainable forest management, and should be integrated in national forest and land-use plans. In this context, the conservation of primary/old-growth and ecologically mature secondary forest ecosystems is of particular importance. All stakeholders, in particular managers, should engage in an open, transparent and participatory decision-making process that can explicitly incorporate the multiple functions of forests and involve all interested parties, including indigenous and local communities. (IPF Agenda item I.1.)

14. Theissueof publiceducation andawarenesshasnotbeenexplicitly addressed in theTermsof Reference of the IPF. The importance of education and awareness-raising at all levels of society, including local communities, local and national policy makers, forest managers, and users of forests and forest products, related to the importance of biological diversity, especially those components under threat, should have a high priority in both national and international efforts. (Convention on Biological Diversity Article 13.)

15. More effort on biological diversity is needed in research, training and other capacity-building activities (Convention on Biological Diversity Article 12). Important topics include development of policies, criteria and indicators, methodologies and technologies for sustainable forest management, and the impact of utilization of components of biological diversity, particularly those under threat, on ecological processes. (IPF Agenda items III.1 and III.2.)

16. In response to the invitation of the IPF, the Conference of the Parties has requested its Executive Secretary to provide advice and information pertaining to the relationship between indigenous and local communities and forests. The Conference of the Parties has further requested the Executive Secretary to provide advice and information concerning the contents, work and medium-term programme of work of the Convention relevant to the Terms of Reference of the IPF. Such advice and information will be provided in time for the Panel's third session.

17. The IPF may also receive substantive inputs from the Convention following the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties on, inter alia, the underlying causes of biological diversity loss in forest ecosystems, components and dynamics of biological diversity, and ways and means for the effective protection and use of traditional forest-related knowledge, innovations and practices of forest dwellers, indigenous and local communities, as well as fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from such knowledge, innovations and practices.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme