EUSTAFOR publishes its position paper on the new EU Forest Strategy post-2020
Ensuring consistency among EU forest-related policies through clear objectives and feasible targets by providing ten policy messages from European state forests on the EU Forest Strategy post-2020 was the aim of EUSTAFOR’s most recent Position Paper on the EU Forest Strategy post-2020 in response to the European Commission’s launch, on 25 January 2021, of its public consultation on a new EU forest strategy.
Over the last years, the EU and international forest policy frameworks have strongly evolved. The crucial role of forests and the forest-based sector is recognized by the EU Green Deal, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the climate mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as other international commitments and initiatives. EUSTAFOR strongly believes the future EU Forest Strategy should serve as a tool to reconcile other forest-related policies so that the demands placed on forests by policymakers neither diminish their multifunctional character nor allow one objective to dominate all others.
“The main instrument to integrate European forests and the forest-based value chain into the Green Deal should be a robust EU Forest Strategy post-2020, which the European Commission opened for public consultation, to serve as a framework for a consistent and well-coordinated EU action on forests,” says Reinhardt Neft, President of EUSTAFOR and CEO of Bayerische Staatsforsten.
More than 1/3 of Europe is covered by forests, providing a wealth of economic, environmental, and social benefits for all Europeans. Up to 1/3 of Europe’s forests are owned by states, which means that they belong to the citizens of Europe. As managers of these common European assets, European state forest management organizations share the following 10 policy messages on how the upcoming EU Forest Strategy post-2020 may enable European forests to successfully help implement the EU Green Deal framework:
- The EU needs a straightforward forest land use strategy
- Afforestation, reforestation, and restoration offer solutions for a future-fit Europe
- Forest adaptation, health, and resilience must be ensured now more than ever
- Forests are a multifaceted part of the solution to climate mitigation and carbon
- Biodiversity and nature are embedded within SFM
- Boost the bioeconomy, research, and innovation
- Beyond wood – forests offer ecosystem services, the social use of forests, and recreation
- Balanced communication on SFM and its benefits must be based on real forest monitoring
- The sustainable and multifunctional management of forests requires adequate financing
- The EU has a global forest responsibility.
Furthermore, EUSTAFOR would like the relevance of state forests for the broad spectrum of issues mentioned above to be recognized in future EU decisions. The future of European forests – with their long life cycles – depends on the political and managerial decisions that are made today, as well as on the efforts of thousands of forest professionals and workers at field level.
With due regard to the Council Conclusions of 11 November 2020 and the European Parliament Resolution of 8 October 2020, EUSTAFOR calls on the European Commission to develop a strong, self-standing, coherent and holistic EU FS post‑2020. The Strategy should serve as a central policy instrument to support and promote SFM, making clear references to the equal relevance of its three pillars – economic, environmental, and social.
Published 29/01/2021, Brussels
Mr. Piotr Borkowski
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