Forest Biodiversity

Programme of Work

Programme of Work

Overview of the Expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity

Aperçu du Programme de Travail sur la Biodiversité des Forêts

Resumen del Programa de Trabajo sobre la Biodiversidad Forestal


At its sixth meeting in 2002 the Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity (decision VI/22, paragraph 10, annex), which was developed by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)(recommendation VII/6, annex).

The expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity consists of three programme elements, 12 goals, 27 objectives and 130 activities.

Three Programme Elements

1. Conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing

e.g., Forest fires, climate change, protected areas, invasive alien species, habitat fragmentation, pollution, forest restoration, species conservation, illegal logging, indigenous and local communities, access and benefit-sharing

5 Goals:

  • Apply the Ecosystem Approach to the management of all types of forests
  • Reduce the threats and mitigate the impacts of threatening processes on forest biodiversity
  • Protect, recover and restore forest biodiversity
  • Promote the sustainable use of forest biodiversity
  • Access and benefit-sharing of forest genetic resources

2. Institutional and socio-economic enabling environment

e.g., understanding causes of biodiversity loss, incentive measures, sectoral integration and mainstreaming, land tenure, forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG), CEPA

3 Goals:
  • Enhance the institutional enabling environment
  • Address socio-economic failures and distortions that lead to decisions that result in loss of forest biodiversity
  • Increase public education, participation and awareness

3. Knowledge, assessment and monitoring

e.g., Global forest classification system, assessment methods, understanding ecosystem functioning, data and information management

4 Goals:

  • Characterize and analyse from forest ecosystem to global scale and develop general classification of forests on various scales in order to improve the assessment of status and trends of forest biodiversity
  • Improve knowledge on and methods for the assessment of the status and trends of forest biodiversity
  • Improve understanding of the role of forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
  • Improve the infrastructure for data and information management for accurate assessment and monitoring of global forest biodiversity


In order to implement the work programme, the COP urged donors and the international community to contribute through financing and technology transfers to nationally or regionally identified priorities for forest biodiversity (decision VI/22, paragraph 16). COP also agreed that the availability of new and additional finances from public, private, domestic or international sources, along with the transfer of technology and capacity-building, are necessary to facilitate the effective implementation of the expanded programme of work by developing countries (decision VI/22, paragraph 17). Furthermore, COP 6 requested the Executive Secretary of the Convention to initiate a number of actions to be reported to the ninth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and COP 7, which would facilitate or complement the national implementation of the expanded programme of work (decision VI/22, paragraph 19). COP also agreed to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) to provide advice for SBSTTA for the review of the implementation of the programme of work (decision VI/22, paragraph 26).

The AHTEG on the Review of Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity held its first meeting in Montpellier, France, from 24 to 27 November 2003.

At its seventh meeting, the COP welcomed the progress made on the implementation of the expanded programme of work (decision VII/1, paragraph 1) and encouraged Parties and other Governments to take part in, and further develop, cooperation at the regional level in their effort to implement the activities contained in the work programme (decision VII/1, paragraph 5). The COP also requested the Executive Secretary to organize another meeting of the AHTEG prior to the SBSTTA (decision VII/1, paragraph 4), and to propose, in collaboration with the AHTEG, outcome-oriented targets to be integrated into the work programme for consideration by the SBSTTA prior to the eighth meeting of the COP (decision VII/1, paragraph 7). The COP underlined the need to 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 (decision VII/1, paragraph 11).

At its eight meeting (decision VIII/19), the COP requested the Executive Secretary to strengthen collaboration on issues regarding the promotion of sustainable forest management, to complete the assessment on unauthorized harvesting on fauna (including bushmeat) (see Technical Series No. 33) and to carry out an in-depth review of the Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity.

At its ninth meeting, the COP took note of the findings of this in-depth review and urged parties to strengthen the implementation of the expanded programme though capacity-building and by addressing the obstacles identified in the review (decision IX/5). The 191 Parties agreed to address as a matter of priority human-induced threats to forest biodiversity, including forest degradation, unsustainable use of forest products and resources, climate change, illegal land conversion, forest fires, and invasive alien species. The COP requested the Executive Secretary to work in close cooperation with existing international, regional and subregional processes, such as the UNFF Secretariat, in implementing the programme of work on forests (decision IX/5 para 3(a)) and to collaborate with the other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to support Parties efforts to address reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (decision IX/5 para 3(b)). It also requested the Executive Secretary to collect, compile and disseminate information on the relation between forest ecosystem resistance and resilience, forest biodiversity, and climate change (decision IX/5 para 3(f)) (See Technical Series No. 43).

In-depth Review

At its eighth meeting, in March 2006, the Parties agreed on the process for reviewing the implementation of the forest work programme at their ninth meeting, in 2008, as delineated in paragraph 12 of and the annex to decision VIII/19. In collaboration with the members of the CPF, Parties and other relevant organizations, the Secretariat carried out the in-depth the review, analysing the information contained in the forest section of the third national reports and other relevant information.

As part of the review process, the AHTEG met a total of four times, the last meeting having taken place in Rome in May 2007. THE UNFF and CPF members (ITTO, FAO, IUCN, UNEP, GEF and IUFRO) participated. A 14-day online consultation took place in October 2007. The Secretariat prepared a document, In-Depth Review of Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/3), for discussion at the 13th meeting of SBSTTA, in February 2008, with an accompanying scientific and technical background document, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/INF/5, and submitted draft decisions to COP 9.