The Forest policy processes in Europe

Summary and presentations the 30th March

It is very important to discuss European forest policy issues within a wider audience like the one at KSLA the 30th March. These ongoing policy processes will influence the national forest policy processes in our countries, whether we like it or not. To bring some of our neighboring countries in Europe to this seminar (Portugal and Russia) has been very valuable and to share their experiences of the forest policy development in Europe.

The processes are interconnected at different levels

Fredrik Ingemarson (Programme Manager, The Secretariat for International Forestry Issues (SIFI)) made the introduction on global Mega trends and pointed out that the drivers for the forest policy processes are interconnected at different levels, e.g. at global and national levels.

The ongoing processes in EU

Markus Holzer (Head of Unit, Bioenergy, Biomass, Forestry and Climatic Changes, DG AGRI) gave us an overview of the ongoing processes on forests within the EU and clarified that the Commission will focus their forest related work in the next 1½-2 years on:

  1. New EU forest strategy
  2. CAP and the Rural Development Programme (related to forest activities)
  3. INC – LBA negotiations

A road map for a legally binding agreement

Jan Heino (Chair of the Inter­governmental Negotiation Committee) gave us a comprehensive presentation of the development in the ongoing Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) process on Forests in Europe, including a road map up to 2013. He pointed out that the Inter­governmental Negotiation Committee (INC) for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe is an independent process.

Different drivers for various countries

Dr. Peter Edwards (Department of Forest Products and Markets, the Swedish Agricultural University) gave an overview of the different interest that are involved in European forest policy making of today. He showed that there are different drivers for various countries or organizations why to involve in these processes, but he also showed that there are conflicting areas of interest.

Views from three countries

We also heard some views from Russia (Sergey Rodin, Deputy Head, Forest Research Institute (FSU VNIILM)), Portugal (Graça Rato, Adviser, Autoridade Florestal Nacional MAMAOT) and Sweden (Ingeborg Bromée, Deputy Director, Ministry of Rural Affairs) on the ongoing forest policy development. We learnt that there are similarities in opinions but also a number of differences.

A challenge to reach an agreement

For instance all three countries would like to strengthen and improve sustainable forest management in Europe. Another example is that Sweden and Portugal share the principle of subsidiarity but seem to have a somewhat different view on EU incentives for forest fire fighting. Trying to come to an agreement in these processes will be a challenge. Russia made it clear that they will continue to participate in the Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) process on Forests in Europe. Finally, the audience was made aware that climate change is reality and that desertification has now reached Europe.

Text: Björn Merkel, The Secretariat for International Forestry Issues (SIFI)

Editor: Fredrik Ingemarson, The Secretariat for International Forestry Issues (SIFI)

Please find the program on this link: Understandning the European policy game