FOREST EUROPE (MCPFE) – a holistic approach to sustainable forest management.

Lars Peder Brekk

Lars Peder Brekk

A speech by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Lars Peder Brekk, at the Forest Protection Conference in Madrid, Spain.

Introduction

World forests are in the spotlight for good reasons. Deforestation and forest degradation continues at an alarming rate. The multiple crises of climate, finance and food require the need for action to limit deforestation and to manage our forests sustainably. This is necessary in order to mitigate climate change and to adapt forests to changes in temperature, water supply and other factors affected by changes in climate.

It is necessary to utilise the potential of sustainable managed forests for development and income in difficult economic times. Forests, directly and indirectly, are part of the solution in the severe food situation faced by societies in many parts of the world. The linkage between forest management, forest functions and food security is too often neglected.

Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD +) is one of the main priorities for Norway in the climate change negotiations. The Copenhagen accord mandate countries to “immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD plus, to enable the mobilisation of financial resources from developed countries”. We intend to continue our effort in this regard. The Prime minister of Norway will host a meeting in Oslo in May which will aim at moving the issue forward on the basis of the outcome from Copenhagen.

Europe`s forests constitute 25 per cent of the worlds forest. They are equally important as forests in other regions for the future wellbeing of the societies depending on them – and for other parts of the world. 85 percent of European forests are located outside the EU while 15 per cent are within the EU-27. Sustainable forest management is a dynamic concept. Changes in society’s needs, environmental questions and the need for economically viable solutions are challenges to the entire region. FOREST EUROPE has shown its ability to respond to these challenges and we intend to develop the cooperation further.

Spain and Norway are co-chairing the General Coordinating Committee of FOREST EUROPE. We both see the merit in developing a robust process for the future. Currently the European countries are focused on the preparations for the next ministerial conference scheduled for June 2011. The ministerial conference will determine the content, form and direction of the future of FOREST EUROPE. Synergies between the work within the EU and the work of FOREST EUROPE definitely exist.

Read the entire speech.

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