EU Forest Directors adopted new declaration on forests
The Bratislava Declaration on the “EU Forest Strategy: a new impulse on a way forward” was adopted when EU Forest Directors General met in Bratislava on 7-9 November 2016. The new Bratislava Declaration builds on the current momentum and serves as an important input on the way forward in the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy.

The Declaration (can be seen below) was adopted as an outcome of the informal meeting of the EU Forest Directors General, organized by the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Bratislava on 7-9 November 2016.

In the Declaration, the Forest Directors encourage the European Commission, Member States and other stakeholders to continue working on implementation of the EU Forest Strategy and stress the role of the Standing Forestry Committee as the central coordinating body on forest related policies at the EU level.

The Declaration highlights five key areas of importance:

  • Knowledge base supporting foresight and sound policy decisions
  • Forests in the context of the 2030 climate and energy framework
  • Forests and biodiversity protection
  • FLEGT Action Plan
  • Forests from a global perspective

When it comes to forests in the 2030 climate and energy framework, the Declaration highlights that forests and the wide range of wood-based products, including bioenergy, with its sequestration, storage and substitution effects can significantly contribute to the climate mitigation targets. 

The Declaration underlines the need for careful analyses and thorough discussion of the LULUCF proposal, in order to ensure that the accounting methodologies applied will help to promote sustainable forest management and the use of wood products and their role in climate change mitigation. 

It further underlines that the potential of forests to produce sustainable biomass should be supported and further developed through enabling policy frameworks, and stresses the need to minimise regulatory burdens.

Furthermore, the Declaration highlights the importance of the Cork Declaration 2.0 “A Better Life in Rural Areas” supporting the potential of forestry to deliver sustainable solutions for current and future generations, the recognition of forestry as an engine for rural growth and that foresters should be encouraged to provide climate services and to engage in climate change adaptation efforts.

In the context of forests from a global perspective, the Declaration calls for timely EU preparations ahead of the FOREST EUROPE Round Table meeting on a Legally Binding Agreement on forests in Europe in early 2018.

Forest Directors General from Member State ministries and forest authorities, as well as stakeholder representatives, participated in the meeting in Bratislava. CEPF was represented by Secretary General Emma Berglund.