Forests form an important part of the international environmental agenda with the plight of tropical rain forests in particular being a topic of great public concern.
Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) and Processes
The Commission participates in a number of MEAs and processes – the nature of the participation varying depending on the topics being discussed. For instance as a trade-related agreement the Commission speaks on behalf of the European Community in ITTO. In other cases the Commission works with the EU Presidency to ensure a common EU position is maintained.
1992 The Rio Forest Principles are a set of guidelines for development of forest policy that were adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. They form the basis of all later policy developments.
1997 The IPF/IFF Proposals for Action give concrete indications about implementation of the Rio Forest Principles at national and regional level.
2000 The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a forest policy forum established under the ECOSOC which, together with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (of international forest-related organisations), comprises what is known as the International Arrangement on Forests.
Forest issues are taken up in the above conventions in relation to biodiversity and climate change. DG Environment helps ensure coherent positions on forests are taken in these different processes
The ITTO is a commodity agreement with an environmental dimension, which brings together producers and consumers of tropical timber around the common objective of sustainable forest management.
The Commission participates in the bi-annual FAO Committee on Forests, which decides FAO’s work programme on forests. FAO is responsible for global forest databases and produces technical publications on forest resources such as State of the world's forest (2005) as well as providing technical assistance to FAO members.
Based in Geneva, the Timber Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe facilitates policy development on Forests in the UNECE region and works together with the FAO Regional Commission for Europe.
International Policy Development
In addition to international environmental policies, international forest policy work interacts with many sectors in which the Commission is active such as: trade and environment discussions; international aspects of forest certification and green procurement; economic and development cooperation including the Tropical Forest budget line; forests and conflict issues; forest industry/ trade Corporate Responsibility.