Last steps before FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference
Delegates of FOREST EUROPE signatory countries and the European Union gave green light to the draft documents that the Ministers responsible for forests in Europe will have to decide on at the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference in Madrid on 20-21 October.

Agreement on the Conference documents was reached at the last FOREST EUROPE Expert Level Meeting (ELM) in Madrid from 30 June to 2 July 2015.

The documents approved include:

  • a declaration in which the need to address global challenges related to forests at a regional level is recognised;
  • a resolution that highlights the potential of forests in the transition to a green economy and their role as a source of employment;
  • a resolution underlining the need to reinforce forest protection and sustainable management of forests to this end, and highlighting the need to strengthen cooperation at the pan-European level in order to deal with forest threats that recognise no borders; a decision on the future direction of FOREST EUROPE.

Participants at the Expert Level Meeting were also informed of the preliminary findings of two reports that will be presented at the conference:

  • the ‘State of Europe’s Forests 2015’ report, which analyses the status and changes in forests and forest management in Europe;
  • a mid-term evaluation of the fulfilment of the Goals and European 2020 Targets for forests, which were agreed by the ministers at the Oslo Ministerial Conference in the Oslo Ministerial Decision: European Forests 2020.

The documents presented and adopted at the Expert Level Meeting can be found here.

Furthermore, FOREST EUROPE delegates gave their formal approval to the decision to be presented at the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference, which will be held right after the ordinary Ministerial Conference on 21 October, and which will receive and adopts the results of the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) on Forests in Europe.

Delegates formally backed the presentation of a text that had been drafted in March 2015. The draft decision approved recognises that the draft negotiating text resulting from the negotiation process that was launched at the 6th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, should serve as a basis for potential further consideration of an LBA in the future. It also establishes a commitment to explore possible ways to find common ground on the LBA by 2020 at the latest. In establishing such a deadline, the FOREST EUROPE signatories show their willingness to reach a future agreement that could strengthen the implementation of a coherent forest policy in Europe, as well as the sustainable management of its forests.