EFI part of the Secretariat for negotiation process on Legally Binding Agreement

The Oslo Ministerial Conference has decided to launch a negotiating process towards a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) of European forests. This is done in order to secure the vitality of the Continent’s forests which is crucial to foster a green economy both in Europe and globally. Protection and sustainable management of Europe’s forests require a stable and efficient platform for coherent policy development and implementation and the LBA. It was also decided to establish a Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) and the Bureau for this Committee. To launch the negotiation process was a historical decision to develop a forest policy framework for Europe. In servicing jointly the negotiating process towards the Legally Binding Agreement, the Oslo Summit requested the Liaison Unit of Forest Europe and invited UNECE, FAO, UNEP and EFI to form the Secretariat. EFI’s role will be providing independent scientific and policy advice in support of negotiations as well as inputs to information needs identified by the Committee.

The Forest Europe process is based on two tracks parallel approach: 1) Oslo Ministerial Decisions with the title European Forests 2020 as a voluntary policy process including vision and goals for forests, targets for 2020, mission as well as European and national actions; and 2) Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe.

The role of science in support of Forest Europe has been clearly recognized in the context of both tracks. The Ministerial Conference states: “Recognising the value of adequate and accessible forest information, such as forest inventories, monitoring, assessing and reporting on implementation of sustainable forest management as well as science-based knowledge, for decision making at all levels.” The second European 2020 target is specified as follows: “In addressing emerging issues forest knowledge is improved through research, education, innovation, information sharing and communication.” Furthermore, the development of Forest Europe Work Programme for the next four years will carried out in cooperation with partners, such as the European Forest Institute. Hence, the pan-European science community has a strategic opportunity concretely advance science-policy interaction in coming years.

The Ministerial Conference was hosted by the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Mr. Lars Peder Brekk, and was organised jointly with the Spanish Minister of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Dr. Rosa Aguilar Rivero.

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