Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

Other reports in this collection Compatibility with Internationally Recognized Principles and Indicators of Sustainable Development

At the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), a broad framework for the objectives, activities, and means of achieving sustainable development was advanced in Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992). Sections I and II of Agenda 21 ("Social and Economic Dimensions" and "Conservation and Management of Resources for Development") identified and described key program areas of sustainable development. From these program areas, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) drafted a set of 134 specific social, economic, and environmental indicators (UN, 1996). The indicators were developed within a "Driving Force-State-Response" framework, each with a methodology for use at the national level on the understanding that countries would choose from among the indicators those that are relevant to their national priorities, goals, and targets. These indicators are being tested by countries from all geographic regions; a final set of national-level indicators is anticipated by 2001.

Table 2-8: Examples from UN Commission on Sustainable Development's working list of sustainable development indicators1 relevant to LUCF policies and measures under the Kyoto Protocol.

Program Area Driving Force
State Indicators Response Indicators

Combating Poverty
  • Unemployment rate
  • Head count index of poverty
  • Poverty gap index
  • Squared poverty gap index
  • Gini index of income inequality
  • Ratio of average female wage to male wage

(None listed)

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology, Cooperation, and Capacity-Building
  • Capital goods imports
  • Foreign direct investments
  • Share of environmentally sound capital goods imports
  • Technical cooperation grants

Protection of Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources
  • Annual withdrawals of ground and surface water
  • Domestic consumption of water per capita
  • Groundwater reserves
  • Density of hydrological networks

Combating Desertification and Drought
  • Population living below poverty line in dryland areas
  • National monthly rainfall index
  • Satellite-derived vegetation index
  • Land affected by desertification

(None listed)

Combating Deforestation
  • Harvesting intensity
  • Forest area change
  • Managed forest area ratio
  • Protected forest area as a percentage of total forest area

Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Use of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers
  • Irrigation percentage of arable land
  • Energy used in agriculture
  • Arable land per capita
  • Land area affected by salinization or waterlogging
  • Agricultural education

Conservation of Biological Diversity  
  • Threatened species as a percentage of total known native species
  • Protected species as a percentage of total known native species

1 Driving Force Indicators are key human activities, processes, and patterns that impact sustainable development; State Indicators provide information on the current status of sustainable development; and Response Indicators are intended to highlight policy options and elements that could be used to improve the state of sustainable development. The indicators listed here are not necessarily applicable to the evaluation of LUCF climate mitigation measures. For more information on this framework and specific indicators, see UN (1996).

Table 2-8 provides a brief explanation of the framework, along with examples of relevant specific indicators within program areas. Chapters 10-15 of Agenda 21 encompass several program areas of particular relevance to LULUCF policies and measures:

  • Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources
  • Combating deforestation
  • Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
  • Sustainable mountain development
  • Sustainable agriculture and rural development
  • Conservation of biological diversity.

Other relevant program areas include transfer of environmentally sound technology; cooperation and capacity-building, and protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources.

Assessing whether and to what extent the final set of national-level indicators could be effectively adapted to assess the sustainable development contributions of LULUCF measures under the Kyoto Protocol is difficult. Annex I and non-Annex I countries have reported significant challenges in implementing many of the indicators that have been drafted (UN, 1998). Several Annex I nations have reported that implementation of indicators was time-consuming and sometimes unclear with regard to their relevance to national development strategies. Developing countries have reported difficulty in implementing the indicators, citing problems such as inadequate data and insufficient national and local capacity. Some countries have reported effective progress in addressing these latter problems by cooperating ("twinning") in the implementation process (e.g., South Africa/ Finland, Tunisia/France and Brazil/Germany).

Table 2-9: Examples of OECD environmental performance indicators1 for sample issues relevant to LUCF policies and measures under the Kyoto Protocol.

Issue Driving Force Indicators State Indicators Response Indicators

Forest Resources
  • Short-run sustained yield/actual harvests
  • Share of disturbed/deteriorated forest in total forest area
  • Percentage of harvest area successfully regenerated (including natural regeneration) or afforested

Biological Diversity and Landscape
  • Habitat alteration and conversion of land from its natural state
  • Threatened or extinct species as a share of known species
  • Protected areas as a percentage of total area by ecosystem type

Soil Degradation (Erosion and Desertification)
  • Erosion risk: potential and actual use of soil
  • Degree of topsoil losses
  • Rehabilitated areas

1 See Table 2-8 for brief descriptions of performance indicators.

Other multilateral institutions are also developing broad sustainable development indicators. For example, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has developed a core set of environmental indicators for use in the evaluation of the environmental performance of economic sectors either by function or institutions (OECD, 1993). The OECD framework uses a similar "pressure-state-response" model and attempts to identify indicators based on their policy relevance, analytical soundness, and measurability. The OECD has developed indicators for LULUCF-related issues such as forest resources, landscape, soil degradation, and biological diversity (Table 2-9).

The OECD is planning to develop and extend its environmental performance indicators to produce by 2001 a practical set of indicators that integrate key economic, environmental, and social elements of sustainable development. The OECD intends to develop these indicators in cooperation with non-OECD countries and other international organizations and expects the indicators to serve as a tool for policy analysis, monitoring, and evaluation of progress toward sustainable development at the local, national, and regional levels (OECD, 1998). The European Union (EU) also is developing a set of indicators for key human activities that affect the environment. A recent progress report lists 60 indicators for 10 policy areas-such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion-which are being evaluated for their quantitative usefulness and relative contribution to various economic sectors (Eurostat, 1999). Further analysis would be necessary should the Parties wish to assess whether and how these indicators might be operationalized for the purposes of the Protocol.

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