Paper for Discussion at the Joint Meeting of the Working Party on Forestry and the Working Party on International Environmental Issues

Paper for discussion at the Joint meeting of the Working Party on Forestry and the Working Party on International Environmental Issues (Biodiversity and Climate Change/LULUCF) on 16 April 2008

Identifying Synergies and Co-benefits between UNFCCC, CBD and UNFF Policies

1. Introduction

The need for building synergies and co-benefits between the environment related conventions and processes has been increasingly stressed. In current developments a particular need has been expressed in building synergies between the climate, biodiversity and forest policies at all levels. Recognising the severity of the problem, the Spring European Council of March 2008 stressed the necessity “to achieve greater synergies between climate change and biodiversity policies as a way of securing co-benefits, in particular by strengthening mutually supportive activities and measures with regard to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to the production, consumption of and trade in biofuels. The European Council encourages Member States and the Commission to strengthen efforts aimed at halting biodiversity loss by 2010 and beyond…”(§23, Spring European Council Conclusions, March 2008).

The idea has been developed from the concerns “about the impacts of climate change on biodiversity”, the need for “stronger mutual support between biodiversity and climate change policies, building on their great potential for synergies;” and the “concerns regarding conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems” that “should be properly evaluated and duly taken into account in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, such as in relation to the production and consumption of and trade in biofuels and biomass, measures for afforestation and reforestation, and measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation” to be addressed by CBD-COP9. (§1, June 2007 Environment Council Conclusions)

It was additionally stressed by the March 2008 Environment Council, that COP 9 needs firmly to address “enhanced and effective collaboration at all levels between the Rio Conventions and other related instruments and processes, including work on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as on other relevant mitigation and adaptation measures, and to determine ways to ensure that the CBD contributes to the process launched by the Bali Action Plan under the UNFCCC, to be concluded in 2009, with a view to maximising co-benefits and achieving greater synergies between climate change and biodiversity policies;”. (§3)

Also the Council Conclusions on UNFF 7 follow-up underlined the political commitment of the EU to contribute positively and actively to the implementation of the NLBI, using it as a framework for national action and international cooperation, building upon potential synergies with the relevant forest-related conventions, agreements and processes in order to achieve sustainable management of all types of forests and the shared global objectives on forests (§1); emphasised that the EU should actively participate in the discussions on the adaptation and further development of existing financing sources in support of SFM, leading to the effective use of available resources, and should also contribute to the development of innovative approaches to financing in support of SFM (§5); underlined the increased need for consistent and focused national, regional and international input on forest issues to UNFF and other international forest-related conventions, agreements and processes with a view to promoting institutional synergies and collaboration at all levels (§6).

2. Background

2.2.1 UNFCCC

In the context of the Bali Road Map the following principles and other elements have been elaborated, which might be relevant for discussion:

a) Post 2012 LULUCF regime

1. Maximum benefit to the objectives of the Convention implies joint optimization of emission reduction, carbon sequestration, bioenergy, and material substitution functions.

2. Accounting of agriculture and forestry needs to preserve the environmental integrity of the climate regime.

3. The vulnerability of terrestrial carbon stocks to natural disturbances and potential impacts of climate change on terrestrial carbon stocks need to be taken into account.

4. More inclusive coverage of agriculture and forestry would enhance mitigation and adaptation opportunities while avoiding possible perverse incentives.

5. The review of current accounting rules for the LULUCF sector should seek to provide a basis for further incentives to promote emissions reduction in the sector, the use of sustainable biomass for energy, the use of wood products and the sustainable use and management of agricultural and forest land.

6. Accounting for agriculture and forestry should reflect real anthropogenic mitigation action.

7. The contribution of agriculture and forestry to the climate change policy framework should be considered holistically. Other economic, social and environmental functions should be taken into account and synergies should be promoted.

8. Future treatment of LULUCF should seek to simplify accounting rules and enhance their robustness.

9. The treatment of this sector in future agreements should aim at strengthening incentives for sustainable land-use practices, reducing the complexity and costs, and enhancing the environmental integrity of the climate regime.


1. The EU reiterates that concrete policies and actions as part of a global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement are needed to halt emissions from deforestation in developing countries and reverse them in the next two or three decades, while ensuring the integrity of the climate regime and maximising co-benefits, in particular with regard to biodiversity protection and sustainable development.

2. Critical aspects for policy approaches and positive incentives are:
rewarding real and long-term reductions in emissions at the national scale, while respecting the sovereignty of countries;
the contribution made to long-term sustainable land and forest management and reducing pressures leading to unsustainable land use or land-use changes;
simplicity, flexibility and practicality;
consistency with and/or evolution from existing monitoring methodologies and accounting rules;
promoting synergies at national and local levels and here appropriate with international initiatives and processes;
encouragement of early action.

3. The EU anticipates that the modalities would address:
coverage, including reduction of deforestation emissions and agreed activities that may be linked logically to it;
forest definition and coverage of pools and gases;
establishment of national emissions reference levels and agreed emission reduction levels;
measurement and reporting issues;
accounting issues;
review process.

2.2.2 CBD

Building synergies is a cross-cutting issue for the CBD. At COP9, we are going to discuss the CBD contribution to the climate change process, particularly in reference to forest degradation and deforestation as well as production of biofuels. These issues are addressed in the EU preparations for COP9, under Biodiversity and Climate Change and under the programme of work on forest biodiversity.

The CBD's Programme of Work on forest biological diversity and its comprehensive implementation will decisively contribute to achieving the 2010 biodiversity target. Ambitious decisions have to be taken at COP 9 to strengthen the implementation of this Programme of Work at all levels without its renegotiation.

While promoting the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity should remain a general objective of the CBD work, COP 9 should address specifically the issues of forest protected areas, climate change considerations with regard to forest biodiversity, impacts of bio-energy production, illegal logging and related trade, and the role of CBD vis-à-vis other forest-related processes.

The establishment, effective management and financing of forest protected areas and their networks and, at the same time, the conservation of biodiversity within all types of forests will be of vital importance.

COP 9 needs to address the devastating impacts of illegal logging on the objectives of the CBD by defining the specific contribution the CBD should make to combating illegal logging and related trade, in close co-operation with other relevant global and regional processes including the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). COP9 should recognise and build upon the positive role of approaches based on voluntary partnership agreements such as the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan as well as other regional processes.

Discussion in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries is as an important opportunity for raising the political profile of forest biodiversity as well as for elaborating new measures (including financing options) that would benefit the objectives of both UNFCCC and CBD in a mutually supportive way.

The areas that can be addressed from the prospective of building synergies between the three processes as included in the programme of work on forest biodiversity are the following:

Addressing forest biodiversity and climate change issues:
stronger cooperation between the CBD and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
conserving forests and establishing forest protected areas as a significant contribution towards both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving biodiversity
avoid negative impacts on forest biodiversity from possible new financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation like those described in the Bali Plan of Action

Sustainable production of biomass:
need for guidelines or standards for the production of bioenergy
compile evidence on the impacts of bioenergy, in particular biofuels, production and consumption on forest biodiversity
develop biodiversity guidelines to inform existing and emerging standards and certification schemes of relevant bodies relating to the production and consumption of sustainable bioenergy

Impacts of genetically modified trees:
Conference of the Parties should recognize a lack of scientific data regarding these impacts
recommend the application of the precautionary principle as laid down in the Cartagena Protocol

Combating illegal logging and related trade:
close cooperation with other relevant global and regional processes including the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) as well as CITES
supporting approaches based on voluntary partnership agreements such as the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and seeking for synergies and coherence amongst those
positive role of market based certification schemes

Conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity:
apply the principles of sustainable forest management and the ecosystem approach
support efforts made to alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods
cooperate in good faith with representatives of indigenous and local communities

Cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination of initiatives:
implementation of both the CBD programme of work on forest biodiversity, and decisions set by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), including the NLBI

When considering the programme of work on forest biodiversity the main conclusions of the EU are:
1. Establishment of national or regional forest protected area networks, having at least 10% of each of the worlds forest types effectively conserved.
2. Exploration of innovative finance mechanisms for these areas
3. FLEGT and illegal logging
4. Compilation of impacts of biofuel production on forest biological diversity
5. Enhanced collaboration with other important international fora concerning forest biological diversity
6. Efforts to address reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
7. Risk assessment for the use of genetically modified trees.

2.2.3 UNFF - NLBI

With a view to achieving the four global objectives and sustainable forest management, a number of policies and measures are identified in the NLBI. They can be grouped as follows:

National forest-related policies
Cross-sectoral coordination
Participation of stakeholders/interest groups
National forest programmes and forest-related strategies
Protected areas

Forest laws and capacity of their enforcement
Clear and equitable land tenure and use rights (local and indigenous communities acknowledged, where applicable)
Forest management planning and monitoring

Economic incentives
Forest protection and maintenance measures
Reforestation and afforestation projects
Forestry extension
Investments to support management effectiveness
Payments for ecosystem services

Education and research

International support
Other multilateral
Technology transfer and capacity building

Other international measures
Certification systems
NGO awareness raising

While striving to achieve the four Global objectives on forests, Member States should respect the following principles:
Each State is responsible for the sustainable management of its forests and for the enforcement of its forest-related laws;
Interest groups and relevant stakeholders contribute to achieving SFM and should be involved in a transparent and participatory way in forest decision-making processes;
Achieving SFM depends on good governance at all levels;
International cooperation, including financial support, technology transfer, capacity building and education, plays a crucial catalytic role in supporting the efforts of all countries, particularly developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition, to achieve sustainable forest management.

Relevant elements on financing SFM elaborated so far:
1. The NLBI is an appropriate framework for sfm financing on the understanding that due consideration will be given to synergies and complementarities with work and initiatives in other fora and/or for other deliverables, such as adaptation/mitigation of climate change, conservation of biological diversity, addressing land degradation, governance reform, or addressing conflicts/post-conflict resolution measures.
2. As markets do not function on the basis of equal benefit sharing or equity, national governments should have in place an enabling policy framework, legislation and governance arrangements that facilitate access to sources of financing and empower a full range of forest users / owners / enterprises to benefit and invest on sfm.
3. The role of official development assistance is important and catalytic and ODA will remain crucial for supporting policy reforms, capacity building, creation of enabling conditions and for providing funding for piloting such activities that may be too risky for direct private sector investment.
4. ODA should also be used to promote effective use of private investment that is based on sfm principles and practices.
5. Considering the evolving land and forest tenure and ownership reform processes on-going in all continents, it is recognised that investment in the legal and governance frameworks which provide economic space for private and community-based forest use and production, is a cost-efficient way of channelling investment for sfm and contributing to poverty reduction.

3. Identification of synergies and co-benefits

Before examining synergies and co-benefits between UNFF, CBD and UNFCCC, key policies and measures to address forest-related environmental challenges should be examined, including through the identification of policies and measures that lead to synergies and co-benefits as well as the identification of co-beneficial approaches to address the challenges.

3.1 Approaches to address environmental challenges

The following list of possible approaches to address challenges under UNFCCC, CBD and UNFF can serve for identification of synergies and co-benefits:

A. Forests and climate change
1. Adaptation measures
possible approaches
adaptive management (resistance and resilience)
strengthen forest protection activities
“resistant” plantations
2. Mitigation measures:
possible approaches
carbon sequestration
hands-off approach – protected areas
increasing of growing stock through active management
substitution effects of wood (fossil fuels savings) – energy sector
direct: use of forest biomass for energy
(semi)natural forests
second generation biofuels
indirect substitution effects
wood products
use of recovered (deposited) wood for energy

B. Forests and biodiversity conservation, including protected areas
1. Forest-related landscape level biodiversity conservation
possible approaches
clear landscape ecology based conservation strategies elaborated
land-use (landscape) planning
forest law enforcement
establishment of protected areas
2. Forest ecosystem and species conservation
possible approaches
identification of required conservation status of habitats and species
(forest) law enforcement
(forest) management planning and monitoring
adaptive management
economic incentives
trade (FLEGT, CITES)
certification systems
awareness raising

C. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)-Reversing the loss of forest cover, preventing forest degradation in all types of forests
1. Deforestation reduced
possible approaches
land-use planning and monitoring
fair accounting of agrofuels/standards for biofuel production
forest law enforcement
reforestation and afforestation projects
establishment of protected areas
payments for ecosystem services
2. Forest degradation reduced
possible approaches
forest protection measures
forest law enforcement
forest management planning and monitoring
establishment of protected areas
adaptive management

3.2 Proposed Discussion Points