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Report on the implementation
of the EU Forestry Strategy
The Commission has put forward a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy. This Communication responds to the request of the Council to report on the implementation of the Strategy, adopted in 1998. The Communication contains the main conclusions on the achievements in the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy, presents emerging issues affecting forests and forestry, and outlines possible actions for the future. The Commission Staff Working Document, which is accompanying the Communication, provides a detailed review of the activities implemented in the context of the EU Forestry Strategy in the period 1999-2004.
The Communication was presented by Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, in charge of agriculture and rural development, in association with Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry, and Commissioner for environment Stavros Dimas and Commissioner for energy Andris Piebalgs.
The Communication highlights that the competitiveness and economic viability of sustainable forestry in many parts of the EU are increasingly being challenged in the global market place. The report stresses the importance of good governance for the protection and sustainable management of forests, and the necessity to enhance cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination and coherence between forest policy and other policies that affect forests and forestry. It also reiterates the EU's support of international processes for the achievement of sustainable forest management world-wide.
The review of the actions taken and activities implemented in the context of the EU Forestry Strategy since its adoption in December 1998 has shown that forests and forestry can successfully serve in providing multiple benefits to the modern society. The report underlines that forests and forestry have a potential to contribute both to the Lisbon objectives of sustainable economic growth and competitiveness, and to the Gothenburg objectives of safeguarding the quantity and the quality of the natural resource base. At the same time, forests are crucial for the fulfilment of the Community commitments to halt the loss of biodiversity and to mitigate climate change.
There has been progress in the sustainable management of EU forests over the last years, but the policy context is changing and a more pro-active approach to governing the Union’s forests is needed in the future. As the main instrument to address the emerging policy context, the Communication proposes to prepare an EU Action Plan for Sustainable Forest Management. The Commission believes that the development of an Action Plan could provide the necessary impetus to transform the Strategy into a dynamic process capable of responding to the newly emerging expectations of society.
The Action Plan, which is proposed to be presented by the Commission in 2006, will be elaborated in close cooperation with the Member States and stakeholders.
On 15 December 1998, the European Council adopted a Resolution on a Forestry Strategy for the European Union. The growing concern about the coherence between the forest policies of the Member States and forest-related activities at the EU level, as well as the rising profile of forests in international policy debates and initiatives on sustainable development, were the main driving forces behind the adoption of the EU Forestry Strategy.
The Council requested the Commission to report on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy within five years. In response to this request the Commission put forward a Communication on the implementation of the Strategy. The Commission Staff Working Document, which is accompanying the Communication, provides a detailed review of the activities implemented in the context of the EU Forestry Strategy in the period 1999-2004.
The implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy, as stated in the Council Resolution, is a dynamic process. The strategy encourages a participatory and transparent approach involving all stakeholders, while recognising the wide variety of ownership regimes within the Community and the important role of forest owners.
To ensure a balanced representation of all important issues and to account for all relevant activities completed throughout the EU during the five years of the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy, extensive consultations with the Member States and with stakeholders in preparation of the Commission Staff Working Document took place in the relevant Commission committees and advisory groups. In order to complement this process, the Commission carried out an open internet-based stakeholder consultation on the Draft Commission Staff Working Document to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide their input. The synthesis report of this internet-based stakeholder consultation describes the process and the main results of the consultation.
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