International Activities and Cooperation
In the pan-European region, forest policy has been a matter of national responsibility. But the trans-boundary importance and the multiple functions of forests require strong cooperation between countries. The European forest sector has a rich infrastructure of institutional frameworks and processes, which operate at the regional or sub-regional levels and contribute to forest policy development and implementation.
International activities supportive to the Oslo Conference follow-up and working together regionally
FOREST EUROPE participates in the organization of internationals events to implement the FOREST EUROPE Work Programme based on the Oslo Decision and Mandate.
Regional cooperation enhances and further develop national forest governance to address specific trans-boundary challenges. Encompassing the whole of Europe, FOREST EUROPE is a successful model for cross-border cooperation throughout an entire continent. It develops common guidelines for its 46 member countries and the European Union on how to protect and sustainably manage the region's forests.
Pan-European cooperation is particularly important with forest issues such as fires, insects and diseases, and product trade across national boundaries. Countries can improve their knowledge and capacity for action, and create synergies by sharing information, experience and expertise, e.g. through research networks and policy deliberations.
Regional cooperation is also an important instrument for enhanced implementation of global commitments and the achievement of global objectives. FOREST EUROPE contributes to the achievement of globally agreed goals related to climate change and biodiversity, the UN Millennium Development Goals and the shared Global Objectives on Forests agreed by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).
En route to achieving the global commitments of the Rio Conventions
FOREST EUROPE decision European Forest 2020 aims to support the achievement of the global commitments of the Rio Conventions. These commitments intend to solve the national and global challenges posed by climate change, desertification, loss of biodiversity and other environmental challenges while responding to the growing need for timber as a renewable material, and maintaining the ability of Europe’s forests to contribute to the quality of life and well-being of people.
The FOREST EUROPE signatory states have committed themselves to contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. These goals are to be achieved through sustainable forest management, carbon stock maintenance, enhanced carbon sequestration in European forests, and a broad range of mitigation and adaptation measures.
Another major goal of FOREST EUROPE countries is to maintain, conserve, and enhance forest biological diversity. They have committed themselves to contribute to the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the implementation of relevant work programmes of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) through effective sustainable forest management. The CBD recognizes that the concept of sustainable forest management as defined and developed by FOREST EUROPE is consistent with the application of the ecosystem approach (as defined by the CBD) to forests in the pan-European region.
FOREST EUROPE works towards strengthening the collaboration with the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) to enhance the role of forests in combating desertification and flooding.
Contributing to the Non-legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests (NLBI) of the UNFF
The FOREST EUROPE signatory states and the European Union have committed themselves to contribute to achieving the Four Global Objectives on Forests, the implementation of the Non-legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests (NLBI) and the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the UNFF for 2007–2015.
The main purpose of the NLBI is to strengthen the political commitment, act at all levels to effectively implement sustainable management of all types of forests and achieve the shared global objectives on forests. FOREST EUROPE contributes substantially to the implementation of the NLBI commitments through its ministerial declarations and resolutions.
Particularly important is the decision made by the Ministers in June 2011, in Oslo, where they signed a mandate for negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe.
This decision can be a milestone for future international processes. It is a major step towards creating the necessary structure for a coherent approach to the Continent’s forests. A strengthened political cooperation in Europe will be vital in order to achieve a balanced and stable continuity of all environmental, economic and social forest functions and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed objectives. It will contribute to achieving the vision, goals and targets for forests in Europe of the Oslo Ministerial Decision: European Forests 2020.