Methodological guidance for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest
carbon stocks in developing countries (SBSTA)
According to the FAO (2005), deforestation, mainly conversion of forests to agricultural land,
continues at an alarming rate of approximately 13 million hectares per year (for the period
1990–2005). Deforestation results in immediate release of the carbon originally stored in
the trees as CO2 emissions (with small amounts of CO and CH4), particularly if
the trees are burned and the slower release of emissions from the decay of organic matter. The
IPCC WGIII (2007) estimated emissions from deforestation in the 1990s to be at
5.8 GtCO2/yr. The IPCC also notes that reducing and/or preventing deforestation
is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term
per hectare and per year globally as the release of carbon as emissions into the atmosphere is
The agenda item on “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and
approaches to stimulate action” was first introduced into the COP agenda at its eleventh
session in Montreal (December 2005). The governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica,
supported by 8 other Parties, through their submission FCCC/CP/2005/MISC.1,
requested for this issue to be taken up on the agenda. This proposal received wide support from
Parties and there was general agreement on the importance of the issue in the context of climate
change mitigation, particularly in light of the large contribution of emissions from deforestation in
developing countries to global greenhouse gas emissions. The COP established a contact group on
this item which drafted conclusions on initiating a process to address the issue of reducing
emissions from deforestation.
This page presents information and the status of negotiations of this agenda item from the most
recent development at the SBSTA to outcomes from previous sessions.
SBSTA 42 (June 2015)
At its forty-second session, the SBSTA considered the following:
- The need for further guidance on ensuring transparency, consistency, comprehensiveness and
effectiveness when informing how all the safeguards referred to in appendix I to decision 1/CP.16 are
being addressed and respected (decision 12/CP.17, paragraph 6);
- The development of methodological guidance on non-market-based approaches to support the
implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70 (REDD-plus) (decision
1/CP.18, paragraph 39);
- The consideration of methodological issues related to non-carbon benefits resulting from the
implementation of activities relating to REDD-plus (decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 40).
In its consideration of the need for further guidance on informing how all the safeguards have been
addressed and respected, the SBSTA welcomed the summaries of information being provided by developing
The SBSTA agreed to recommend draft decisions on the three matters noted above for the adoption by
the COP at its twenty-first session (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/L.5 and Add.1–3). The full text of the
conclusions adopted by the SBSTA and the draft decisions (under agenda item 4) can be found here.
The SBSTA completed its consideration of all the three matters noted above. At the closing plenary,
the SBSTA Chair declared the conclusion of the SBSTA work on this agenda item and that this agenda
item can now be considered closed.
SBSTA 41 (December 2014)
At its forty-first session, the SBSTA considered:
- The need for further guidance on the issues referred to in decision
12/CP.17, paragraph 6 (issues relating to safeguards); and
- The development of methodological guidance on non-market-based approaches.
For the consideration of the SBSTA at this session:
- Developing country Parties submitted their views on experiences and lessons learned from their
development of systems for providing information on how all the safeguards are being addressed and
respected and the challenges they face in developing such systems. These views are contained in
FCCC/SBSTA/2014/MISC.6 and Add.1.
- Parties and admitted observer organizations submitted their views on the type of information from
systems for providing information on how the safeguards are being addressed and respected that would
be helpful and that may be provided by developing country Parties. The views of Parties are contained
in FCCC/SBSTA/2014/MISC.7 and
SBSTA 41 was unable to reach agreement on the above matters. It agreed to consider this agenda item
at SBSTA 42 in accordance with rule 16 of the draft rules of procedure being applied.
SBSTA 40 (June 2014)
At its fortieth session, the SBSTA continued its consideration of:
- Methodological guidance for non-market-based approaches;
- Issues referred to in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 40 (methodological issues related to non-carbon benefits
resulting from the implementation of REDD-plus).
SBSTA 38 invited Parties and admitted observer organizations to
submit to the secretariat, by 26 March 2014, their views on these matters (refer to
FCCC/SBSTA/2013/3). These views are compiled in documents FCCC/SBSTA/2014/MISC.3,
and FCCC/SBSTA/2014/MISC.4 and
The SBSTA agreed to continue its consideration of the development of methodological guidance on
non-market-based approaches at SBSTA 41. The SBSTA agreed to continue its consideration of
methodological issues related to non-carbon benefits at SBSTA 42 (June 2015)
FCCC/SBSTA/2014/L.8 for conclusions)
The secretariat organized an in-session expert meeting at SBSTA 40 on matters relating to
non-market-based approaches on 6 June 2014. A report on the meeting was prepared for
SBSTA's consideration at its forty-first session.
SBSTA 39 (November 2013)
At this session, the SBSTA completed its work on several matters relating to methodological guidance
and the SBSTA forwarded draft decisions to COP19 for adoption. The COP adopted these decisions on
methodological guidance as part of the Warsaw Framework for REDD-plus.
outcomes at SBSTA 35 - 39
outcomes at SBSTA 29 - 34
outcomes at SBSTA 24 - 28