The 'Our Forests, Our Future' conference, organised by the EU Commission, took place in Brussels on 25-26 April 2019 to analyse and discuss opportunities and challenges for enhancing the contribution of the forest sector to the main EU priorities.
High-level speakers included Commissioner Hogan (Agriculture & Rural Development), Commissioner Arias Cañete (Climate Action & Energy), Minister Deneş (Romanian Minister for Water and Forests), and high representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society and non-governmental organisations.
The conference was webstreamed
Sustainable forest management to address societal challenges
Forests and other wooded land cover about 40% of the EU territory, and the forest sector provides more than 3.5 million jobs in the European Union. The forest value chains are engines of rural growth and generate other benefits to society, including societal benefits for human health, recreation and tourism.
As stated in the Cork 2.0 Declaration, forests and the forest sector can greatly contribute to delivering sustainable solutions to current and future societal challenges that concern all citizens of the Union, such as combating climate change, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, promoting the circular bioeconomy, protecting biodiversity and enhancing natural resources.
The EU Forest Strategy, adopted in 2013, set a new framework to coordinate and foster coherence in forest-related policy issues and ensure the contribution of EU forests and the forest sector to the EU's objectives and targets. Sustainable forest management, the multifunctional role of forests, resource efficiency and global forest responsibility are its guiding principles. In the year 2018, a review of the strategy took stock of the actions implemented under the EU Forest Strategy, and the progress towards achieving its objectives for 2020.
The Paris Agreement and the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the review of the EU’s Bioeconomy Strategy have confirmed the growing relevance and importance of the forest sector for the EU.