“Our Forests, Our Future” - The first high-level European conference focusing on forests
On 25 - 26 April 2019, the European Commission organised a conference “Our Forests, Our Future” to analyse and discuss opportunities and challenges for enhancing the contribution of the forest sector to the main EU priorities. The conference was the first of its kind and was supported by three Commissioners: Phil Hogan (DG AGRI), Arias Cañete (DG CLIMA) and Neven Mimica (DG DEVCO). About 400 representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society and non-governmental organisations took part to the event. CEPF was well represented at the conference that addressed all the key issues surrounding the forest sector.

The conference was opened by the Commissioner Hogan who highlighted the importance of forests in climate change mitigation through insisting on their multifunctionality. He stated that “During the mandate of this Commission, forests have been included in a very mindful and coherent way in the EU policy framework, respecting the principle of subsidiarity and addressing the many different functions of forests”. During his opening speech he also announced “1 hectare initiative” which proposes to reward farmers with payments for the afforestation of one hectare.

After the opening keynotes the floor was given to four representatives of associations and civil society. The private forest owners were represented by the CEPF Secretary General, Fanny-Pomme Langue, who said “We in Europe are the global leader when it comes to sustainable forest management”. She pointed out the key role of the forest owners in managing forests sustainably but added that the entire value-chain should be addressed when tackling the challenges our forests are facing.

The conference consisted of five thematic sessions: bioeconomy, climate change, health of forests, sustainable forest management at global level and tree planting in action. Felix Montecuccoli, CEPF Board Member and the Chairman of Land&Forst Betriebe Österreich, participated to the session on  forests and climate change. He remarked that reduced forest management and harvest activities are the wrong way to tackle climate change and in the long-term, reduced or zero utilization of wood from the Austrian forest will have negative effects on the GHG balance.

This conference was of high importance and very timely for the forest sector as it recognised the crucial role of forests in addressing societal challenges and confirmed the attention brought to forests at high political level. CEPF trusts that the outcomes of this event will be relevant and useful to frame future EU policies concerning forests.


Please find the Commissioner Hogan's speech here.

To watch Fanny-Pomme Langue's speech, please click here.

Felix Montecuccoli's presentation can be found here.

The complete recordings of the conference and the presentations can be found here.