CEPF well represented in the kick-off of the review of the EU Forest Strategy
The EU Forest Strategy, published in September 2013, provides a coherent framework for better response to the new challenges facing forests and the forestry sector. The Strategy was a welcomed step forward to recognize the multifunctional role of sustainable forest management to respond to key societal challenges. The Strategy foresees a review to be carried out by 2018 to assess progress in its implementation.

To kick-off the review of the EU Forest Strategy, the European Parliament AGRI, ITRE and ENVI Committees organised a joint public hearing on 4 December 2017. CEPF Vice-President Philipp zu Guttenberg gave a speech at the public hearing, sharing the expectations and visions of Europe’s forest owners.

“Sustainable forest management is only viable if we approach it in a truly holistic way. Holistic means, trying to find a daily compromise, a balance. Maximization of one of the three known pillars inevitably leads to the collapse of the system”, said Mr zu Guttenberg.

He continued by highlighting the multifunctional role of forests: “Our forests are in the best sense multitasking and multitalented ecosystems: They are oxygen producers, water collectors and purifiers, soil stabilizers, home for a rich diversity of fauna and flora, landscape architect, recreational animator and education center for one of the most fascinating renewable resources: namely wood."

At the end of his speech, Mr zu Guttenberg stressed the importance of bringing the Strategy to practice by proper implementation: “We (forest owners) are convinced that the EU Forest Strategy could add much more to a balanced policy design if it is taken seriously.”

Following the public hearing, CEPF organised a joint event with EUSTAFOR, COPA-COGECA and EFI to continue the discussion on the review of the EU Forest Strategy. The event was hosted by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, MEP Ulrike Müller and MEP Andrzej Grzyb and was organized in cooperation with the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development. CEPF was represented in the panel discussion by Ms Natalie Hufnagl-Jovy from AGDW.

It was concluded from the event that while many policy developments in the EU have an increasing impact on forests and the forest-based sector, they do not sufficiently take into account the challenges and benefits of multifunctional sustainable forest management and the versatile and cross-sectoral potential of wood-based products. One key message that emerged from the discussions was that the EU Forest Strategy should be the reference for the development of EU forest-related policies.

Read more on the joint event from the press release below.

The discussions on the EU Forest Strategy continued on 5 December, when a joint meeting between the Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) on Forestry and Cork and the Standing Forestry Committee was held in the premises of the European Commission. Stakeholders and Member State representatives agreed on the importance of a well-recognised EU Forest Strategy to ensure policy coherence.

Furthermore, elections for the Chairmanship of the CDG on Forestry and Cork were held, and Mr Lennart Ackzell from the Federation of Swedish Family Forest Owners (LRF Skogsägarna) was elected as new Chair. He takes over the position after CEPF representative Mr Bernhard Budil, Austrian Private Forest Owners and Farmers Association, who successfully chaired the group for the past two years and who’s mandate has now come to an end. Mr Pedro Albizu, the candidate of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and Ms Julia Christian, the candidate of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), were both elected as Vice-Chairs of the group.

CEPF expresses its gratitude to Mr Budil for his excellent contribution during his chairmanship period and congratulates Mr Ackzell and both vice-chairs for their new positions of trust.