Joint Statement on the role of forest management in the upcoming taxonomy regulation for sustainable investments

In the context of the European Commission’s ongoing work on developing a classification system for sustainable investments, EUSTAFOR and 6 other organizations have expressed their views on the topic of forest management in the proposed taxonomy regulation to the members of the Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG). Sent on 19 February 2019, the joint statement notably addresses the first round of climate mitigation activities drawn up by the TEG.

The signing organizations are:
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR)
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)
European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives (COPA COGECA)
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois)
European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS)
BIOENERGY EUROPE

The 14th European Forest Pedagogics Congress to Take Place in Latvia

How to integrate forest education into school programme on a daily basis? How can forest experts and teachers cooperate to make work with students more efficient? These and other questions will be answered in the 14th European Forest Pedagogics Congress, which will take place in Riga and in Latvia’s State Forest Nature Park in Tērvete from 1 to 4 July.

The Congress is hosted by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) in cooperation with the National Centre for Education of the Republic of Latvia and Riga Technical University.

Designing bridges between forest and schools is the central theme of the Congress this year. The programme includes a number of theoretical and practical activities, developing new teaching methods, as well as exchange of views of experienced Latvian and foreign lecturers, forest experts on different topical issues of forest pedagogy. On special outdoor excursions, the participants will have an opportunity not only to get to know Latvian traditions and one of its greatest riches – the forest, but also to acquire new ideas and inspiration for their everyday work.

On the first day of the Congress, the participants will meet in Riga to explore the Latvian state forests that adorn the coast of the Baltic Sea. The activities of the second day of the event will take place at Riga Technical University, where teachers from Latvia will join the Congress participants. All interested will have an opportunity to take part in various think tanks and workshops, where new teaching methods will be developed based on forest pedagogy. Lecturers from Latvia, the Czech Republic and Germany will share their experiences on matters such as restoring the relations between forest and people, cooperation between forest workers and educators as a basis for sustainable development, and other topical issues.

On the third day of the Congress, the participants will visit Latvia’s State Forest Nature Park in Tērvete to participate in the “market of ideas”; in turn, in the second half of the day time will be devoted to “Pecha-kucha” presentations. These are 6-minute presentations, where forest industry experts such as Daiga Brakmane and Mihails Basmanovs, representatives of the project “Skola 2030”, and Kristaps Ceplis, Head of the society “Zaļās mājas”, will share their experiences. After each presentation, there will be an opportunity to discuss the issues concerned.

Applications for the Congress are open until 31 May this year. All information in English and registration form can be found here.

The event is supported by the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Institute MeKA, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia, the Latvian Forest Research Institute “Silava”, the society “Zaļās mājas”, the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Educational Innovation of the University of Latvia and the project “Skola 2030”.

The European Forest Pedagogics Congress is organised annually to provide a platform for the exchange of experiences in the field of forest pedagogy. The continuity of congress is guaranteed by the Forest Communicators’ Network – Subgroup Forest Pedagogics that is part of both the UNECE Timber Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission.

For more information, please contact Tomass Kotovičs at t.kotovics@lvm.lv

Joint Press Release: Forest stakeholders call for a stronger EU Forest Strategy to reach United Nations and Paris Agreement goals

Last December, the Commission published a progress report on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy, which was discussed by the European Parliament in January. This report comes at a time when forests and the forest-based sector are recognised as essential players in responding to major societal and environmental challenges. In a round table meeting organised on 4 February, the European forest-based sector conveyed a joint and clear message: An updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy is needed to ensure that in the coming decades forest-related EU policies are better coordinated and endorse sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests in a consistent way.

Forests and the forest-based sector are increasingly expected to deliver on recent and upcoming horizontal and sectoral EU policies (e.g. the Renewable Energy Directive; the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy; the LULUCF Regulation; the future Common Agricultural Policy; Sustainable Investments). A coalition of forest and forest-based sector associations have brought together around 60 representatives from EU institutions, the Romanian Presidency of the Council, research and stakeholders to exchange views on the future of the EU Forest Strategy and to explore possible ways forward to strengthen sustainable forest management in EU forest-related policies.

During the discussion, several stakeholders highlighted that the Commission progress report refrains from making concrete recommendations for the post-2020 period and reiterated their call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy to provide consistency among EU policies.

Mr Ionel Popa, a representative of the Romanian Presidency, indicated that the Council is working on its conclusions on the progress report that will also cover the role of the EU Forest Strategy beyond 2020.

Ms Jytte Guteland, Member of the European Parliament, stated that “the EU Forest Strategy should help to develop common ideas on sustainable forest management in order to ensure consistency when working on EU policies dealing with forests”.

Mr Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament commented: “Forestry can play a great role in achieving climate change objectives, but it can’t do this alone.”

 

For more information:

European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries (CEI-BOIS) Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General, patrizio.antonicoli@cei-bois.org

Confederation of European Forests Owners (CEPF) Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General, fanny.langue@cepf-eu.org

Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director, u.leberle@cepi.org

European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives (COPA COGECA) , Oana Neagu, Rural Development, Forestry and Bioeconomy Director, Oana.Neagu@copa-cogeca.eu

European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director, piotr.borkowski@eustafor.eu

Union of European Foresters (UEF) Michael Diemer, President of UEF, diemer-bell@t-online.de

European Federation of Municipal Forest Owners (FECOF) Maximilian Hauck, Technical Advisor, mhauck@gstbrp.de

EUSTAFOR’s ExCom pays a visit to state forests in Norway

Drones, doctoral dissertations, laser control, and big data  – Leaders of European state forests familiarized with current and future technologies applied in forest operations by Statskog in Norway.

The most recent meeting of  the European State Forest Association’s Executive Committee (EUSTAFOR’s ExCom) was held on 29-30 January 2019, in Oslo, upon the invitation of Statskog. The aim of the meeting was to bring EUSTAFOR closer to one of its associated members, Statskog, and to learn about the success stories and challenges in the state land management of Norway, the forest-related policy priorities of the Norwegian government and about the most recent research and development applications in state forestry. In return, EUSTAFOR’s President and the ExCom shared current work results and future priorities.

“My impression is that this is forestry at a high level of expertise. It’s useful for us to learn more about the operation of Norwegian state forests,” summarised Per-Olof Wedin, President of EUSTAFOR,  following the presentations given by the local hosts.

Now is the time for forestry

EUSTAFOR’s President clearly stated that European forest resources must be actively used for the greater benefit of all Europeans on their way towards a sustainable and low-carbon society. This is an important current matter for decision makers in the EU.

“These are important times for forestry, a fact we must make better known. We’re going from fossil energy to renewable energy and forestry is key to combatting climate change. Never before has timber been used to make so many fantastic new products. At the same time, a steadily greater part of the population lives in cities, which dissociates them from forests,” Mr. Wedin added.

Norway ahead

During the two-day meeting in Norway, the gathering heard presentations by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Statskog SF, and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomics (NIBIO). This provided an insight into the political policy model, sustainable elements in Norwegian forestry and, not least, on ongoing research.

“Even though Statskog is small by European standards, Norway is ahead in several sectors. The Ministry explained a political policy model that I believe would be instructive for others. Statskog is advanced both technologically and environmentally. It’s also germane to show the advanced status of research at NIBIO. It includes acquiring data for research using lasers and drones and, especially, how it can lead to sustainability and economy in forestry,” says Statskog’s Chairman of the Board, Gunnar Olofsson.