EU Forest Action Plan
|The EU Forest Action Plan was
adopted on 15 June 2006. It builds on the report on
implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy and
consequent conclusions by the Council.
The Communication on an EU Forest Action Plan 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, Commissioner
for environment Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for energy
Andris Piebalgs, and Commissioner for science and
research Janez Potočnik. The Communication is
accompanied by a detailed report on the context of
forests and forestry and process of preparation of the
EU Forest Action Plan.
- Communication from the Commission to the Council and the
European Parliament on an EU Forest Action Plan [pdf,
also available in
- Commission Staff Working Document. Annex to the Communication
on an EU Forest Action Plan [pdf]
The Action Plan focuses on four main objectives:
- to improve
- to improve and protect the
- to contribute to the quality of life; and
- to foster coordination and communication. Eighteen key actions
are proposed by the Commission to be implemented jointly with
the Member States during the period of five years (2007–2011).
On 15 December 1998, the European Council adopted a Resolution on a Forestry Strategy for the European Union
[pdf]. 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
Commission Staff Working Document [pdf], which accompanies 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 stakeholders took place in the relevant Commission committees and advisory groups in preparation of the Commission Staff Working Document. 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 [pdf] of this internet-based stakeholder consultation describes the process and the main results of the consultation.
In May 2005, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopted Conclusions on an EU Forest Action Plan [pdf], which support the Commission proposals:
- to develop an EU Forest Action Plan; and
- to review the existing Community means and practices to facilitate co-ordination. The Council Conclusions on the EU Forest Action Plan state that the Action Plan should serve as an instrument of coordination between different Community actions, as well as between Community actions and the forest policies of the Member States. The Action Plan should be presented by mid-2006.
Commission Communication reporting on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy
The Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy
[pdf] 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 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 the Commissioners for environment and energy, Stavros Dimas and Andris Piebalgs respectively.
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 provide multiple benefits to 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.
Progress in the sustainable management of EU forests has been made over the past few years, but the policy context is changing and a more pro-active approach to addressing forestry issues is needed in the future. The Communication proposes to prepare an EU action plan for sustainable forest management as the main instrument to address the emerging policy context. 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.