The EU forest strategy is achieving its aims of encouraging sustainable forest management both in the EU and globally, the mid-term review has found. The report ‘progress in the implementation of the EU forest strategy’ released on 7 December 2018 concludes that the strategy has set clear aims and has successfully coordinated efforts to achieve them.
Set up in 2013 to coordinate the European Union’s response to the challenges that are faced by our forests and the forest sector, the Forest Strategy sets out specific actions to achieve eight key priorities. The report shows that the majority of the actions, across all 8 priority areas, have been implemented as envisaged.
An effective forest strategy is an essential element of the EU’s wider climate policy. By encouraging and promoting the sustainable management of forests and their multifunctional role, the strategy helps to fight deforestation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon, to enhance resilience of ecosystems to a fast changing climate and to protect and preserve biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
These positive effects are felt both in the European Union and abroad. The report has shown that EU efforts to reduce illegal logging globally, under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan, have been substantially more effective in 2015-2017 due partially to the increased cooperation and coordination promoted by the Forest Strategy, both within Europe and in international organisations.
The support to the protection and the sustainable management of forests provides a valuable potential contribution to the EU’s green economy. In 2015, the extended value chains of the forest-based industries supported 3.6 million jobs and produced a turnover of €640 billion with an added value of €200 billion. Innovation is fostering more and more new forest-based products and uses able to replace fossil-based materials for the benefits of climate and human health. The report shows that the strategy has supported this process through the sustainable and efficient use of forest resources and the development of the bioeconomy, including bioenergy.
A key role has also been played by the EU rural development policy under the Common Agricultural Policy, which has provided €8.2 billion in public funds towards achieving the objectives and priorities of the strategy. Furthermore, the EU rural development funds have been coordinated with an increased spending on research and innovation. Research funding for the forest sector has also increased significantly. In 2013-2017, 249 projects received €615 million benefitting jobs and growth.
Further information and details about the various elements of the strategy and its implementation can be found in the report.
7 December 2018