The need for coherent and balanced forest policy framework

There are an increasing number of EU policies and directives, which one way or another depend on forests and the forest based sector. However, despite the relevance of European forests and the forest sector to many EU policies and targets, a solid strategic framework to ensure policy coherence and coordination is absent. The result is a fragmented, contradictory forest policy framework that may not provide the appropriate mechanisms and incentives to ensure that European forests, forest owners and the forest-based sector deliver, in a sustainable way, the goods and services with the highest added value for our society.

Will the ongoing political negotiations for the EU Forest Strategy and a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe result in a coherent and balanced policy framework? That was the key underlying question at the recent ThinkForest dinner.

Mr. Gaston Franco, Member of the European Parliament stated in his opening speech that “It is important that EU forest policy takes into account geographical specificities and challenges arising there from, in particular the prevention of forest fires. Furthermore, it is necessary to better articulate internal, pan-European and international dimensions of the European forest policy."

Mr. Markus Holzer from the European Commission Directorate-General of Agriculture and Rural Development gave a short summary on the reasons why the new EU Forest Strategy is needed. He pointed out that “ It is important to create a shelter to various policy areas that have implications for forests”. There are many issues to tackle, but the new EU Forest Strategy should create a framework for related regulations and directives.

Discussions were based on the conclusions of the recent study on European Forest Governance: Issues at Stake and the Way Forward and on the new European Forest Strategy proposed in September by the European Commission.

The study, initiated by the ThinkForest platform and funded by the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, has been welcomed by policy-makers and stakeholders. It has systematically identified multiple solution paths and three future action scenarios both for the EU and pan-Europe to move ahead. You can read more about it here.

More information: Dr. Marc Palahí, Deputy Director, EFI, marc.palahi@efi.int or the event website.

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