The negotiations on a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) on forests in Europe were closed early in the morning of Saturday, 9 November, in Geneva. The Resumed Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a LBA on Forests in Europe was hosted by the Government of Switzerland on 7-8 November.
Core elements were agreed upon
At this meeting representatives of 38 European countries from the pan-European region and the European Union worked hard on the final draft text of the convention, and all core elements linked to sustainable forest management were agreed upon.
Parties remain committed
Institutional issues remained the main obstacle hindering an overall consensus on the final draft agreement. However, even though significant differences of opinion on this matter were seen during the last session, the parties remain committed to bringing the draft text to an extraordinary ministerial meeting for further guidance.
The negotiation process has involved governments, international agencies, and forest sector organizations as well as national and international non-governmental organizations. Discussions have taken account of the complex nature of forest and forestry, and the diversity of forests in the region.
Ministers will conclude on the LBA
The results of the work carried out during the negotiation on the LBA on forests in Europe will be presented to ministers at an Extraordinary FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, for their consideration and for appropriate actions.
The Ministers of the FOREST EUROPE parties will now have to discuss how to proceed with the results of the negotiation process and conclude on the LBA, which aims to provide a framework for coherent forest policy development and implementation in the pan-European region.
Text and Picture: Jan Heino