Health and sustainability of Europe’s forests are essential in solving the challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity protection and fresh water supplies. Forest vitality is also crucial for fostering a green economy in Europe and across the globe. The protection and sustainable management of Europe’s forests thus requires a stable and efficient platform for coherent policy development and implementation. Therefore, European ministers responsible for forests made the historical decision yesterday to launch negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. They also adopted European 2020 targets for forests. This far-reaching political step was taken at the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which currently takes place in Oslo, Norway.
“The decision by ministers to go ahead with the negotiations towards a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests represents a major step towards creating the necessary structure for a coherent approach to the continent’s forests,” said the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Mr Lars Peder Brekk, chairman of the FOREST EUROPE process. “A strengthened political cooperation in Europe will be vital for achieving a balanced and stable continuity of all environmental, economic and social forest functions, and for contributing to the achievement of international agreed objectives.” As part of the future FOREST EUROPE strategy, ministers agreed on European 2020 Targets for forests.
The Ministerial Conference has been hosted by the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Mr Lars Peder Brekk, and organised jointly with the Spanish Minister of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Ms Rosa Aguilar Rivero. Spain took over the chairmanship from Norway at the Ministerial Conference in Oslo.
The conference in Oslo was attended by ministers and high-level representatives from 42 FOREST EUROPE countries. 6 observer countries from outside Europe and 29 international organisations including environmental and social NGOs, forest owners' associations, the forest industry and intergovernmental organisations participated as observers.