The presentation centres on the following core terms: forest, deforestation and forest degradation. It touches on related terms used by Parties in their submissions, or those covering aspects likely to be relevant for future discussion (italicized terms to be found in the glossary, Appendix 1).
In the past, ad hoc, ambiguous use of terms, e.g. “forest”, “afforestation”, “reforestation”, “promotion of natural seed sources”, or even the term “forest degradation”, have sometimes complicated negotiations, implementation or reporting under UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol and related processes. Some country submissions therefore explicitly requested a comprehensive set of definitions for the negotiations on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
These negotiations will benefit if Parties select and employ from the very beginning established definitions from multilateral agreements or international bodies, wherever feasible. New terms that might be needed can be clearly defined and their use standardised to facilitate efficient negotiations and implementation, as well as streamlined future reporting.
Key considerations for choosing and defining relevant terms include the following:
• they should be unambiguous and serve the purpose, i.e. assessment of carbon stock changes and greenhouse gas emissions and removals2 resulting from an activity;
• definitional parameters should be measurable during assessments;
• definitions should permit synergies and cost effective assessment and reporting, e.g. by being compatible with, or building on, related assessment and reporting processes.
2 the latter term refers to carbon sequestration and must not be confused with “wood removals”, as used in forest resource assessments; removals are relevant if net emissions from forest areas and area loss are considered.