EU Forest Strategy Endorsed

eu-forest europe19 May 2014: The Council of the Europe Union has endorsed the 2013 'A new EU Forest Strategy: For forests and the forest-based sector,' and has released its 'Conclusions adopted by the Council.' The conclusions refer to the Oslo Ministerial Declaration on European Forests 2020 and to criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management (SFM) developed by FOREST EUROPE.

The conclusions take particular note of the 2020 Forest Objectives within the EU Forest Strategy. The main objectives of the Strategy are to ensure and demonstrate SFM within EU member States and to strengthen the contribution of the EU to SFM and to the reduction of deforestation at the global level.

The conclusions also emphasize the eight linked priority areas for European Forests as laid out in the Strategy. These refer to: supporting rural and urban communities; fostering the competitiveness of forest-based industries; enhancing the resilience of forests to climate change; enhancing ecosystem services; strengthening the forest knowledge base; stimulating innovation across the forest sector; improving coordination, communication and coherence on forests; and ensuring consistency between EU and member State policies, objectives and commitments on forest-related issues at the international level.

The Council's conclusions underscore the importance of valuing forest ecosystem services, optimizing the contributions of forests to the green economy, and adopting a holistic approach that addresses forests and their value chains. The Council also calls for better coordination and communication, especially between and among the Working Party on Forestry, the Standing Forestry Committee, the Advisory Committee on Forestry and Cork and the Advisory Committee on Community Policy regarding Forestry and Forest-based Industries.

Finally, the conclusions call for enhanced research on forests, further innovation in forestry and the forest-based sector, and the promotion of wood fuel, including through market development, impact analysis and an assessment of policy implications. [Publication: New EU Forest Strategy: Conclusions Adopted by the Council] [FOREST EUROPE Press Release] [Publication: A New EU Forest Strategy: For Forests and the Forest-based Sector]