Do national strategies under the UN biodiversity and climate conventions address agricultural commodity consumption as deforestation driver?
Journal article, 2018

Forest conversion in the tropics is increasingly driven by global demand for agricultural forest-risk commoditiessuch as soy, beef, palm oil and timber. In order to be effective, future forest conservation policies should includemeasures targeting both producers (the supply side) and consumers (the demand side) to address commodity-driven deforestation. Whereas the UN Conventions on Biodiversity (CBD) and Climate Change (UNFCCC) do notmake reference to this driving factor, here we explore whether and how recent national strategies by memberstates to the Conventions acknowledge the role of agricultural commodities in tropical deforestation. A textanalysis of 139 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to climate change mitigation and 132National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) shows that the general trade-offbetween nationaldevelopment aspirations and forest conservation is commonly acknowledged. However, only few strategies linkdeforestation to commodity production and consumption, whereas most documents do not mention this topic.This lack of reference to a key driver of tropical deforestation limits the prospects of safeguarding tropical forestsfor biodiversity and climate change mitigation purposes as part of the two UN Conventions, and might jeopardisetheir overall effectiveness.Thesefindings were complemented by a content analysis of INDCs, NBSAPs and REDD+ documents fromeight case countries affected by commodity-driven deforestation. We investigated whether this driver is ac-knowledged in the national strategies, and which policy measures are suggested to address forest loss fromagricultural commodities. We found that six case countries mention agricultural commodities as deforestationdriver in their REDD+ documents, whereas the biodiversity and climate change strategies were silent on thetopic. Policy measures targeting commodity production were suggested in four REDD+ strategies, ranging fromincentive payments, sustainable agricultural practices and land-use planning to demand-side approaches such ascertification and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.One conclusion from this exercise is that UN member states seem not to consider climate and biodiversitynational plans the adequate forum to discuss detailed forest conservation approaches. We argue that in order toincrease effectiveness, strategies under the UN Conventions should take commodity-driven deforestation intoaccount, through measures that address both the producer and the consumer side.

Do national strategies under the UN biodiversity and climate conventions address agricultural commodity consumption as deforestation driver?. Available from: [accessed Apr 24 2018].



Text analysis

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Sabine Henders

Linköping University

Madelene Ostwald

Chalmers, Centre for Environment and Sustainability (GMV)

Linköping University

Vilhelm Verendel

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), CSE Verksamhetsstöd

Pierre Ibisch

Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development

Land Use Policy

0264-8377 (ISSN)

Vol. 70 580-590

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Environmental Sciences



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