Ministerial Conferences – FOREST EUROPE advancing sustainable forest management

Since its inception in 1990, FOREST EUROPE has convened five Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which has each taken an important step towards sustainable forest management throughout the region. Up to now, five ministerial declarations and nineteen resolutions have been adopted. Through the FOREST EUROPE commitments, policies for sustainable forest management have been defined and continuously developed for the pan-European region. The ministerial commitments have significantly influenced the formulation and implementation of national forest policies in the European countries. They also contribute substantially to achieving internationally agreed goals.

The number of signatory countries, observer countries and observer organisations has increased continuously. This is a strong indication for the growing recognition that cross-border co-operation and a coherent approach to forest management are essential to protect forests and secure their environmental, economic, social and cultural values. 46 countries and the European Union are signatories and in total 50 non-European countries and international organisations are observers to FOREST EUROPE.

What the Ministerial Conferences have achieved up to now:

First Ministerial Conference - Strasbourg 1990 - an initiative of France and Finland
Because of increased environmental threats to Europe’s forests, the participants of the conference recognised the need for cross-border protection and agreed on a general declaration and six resolutions.
Achievement: Ministerial declaration and six resolutions focusing on technical and scientific cooperation aimed at providing data for common measures concerning Europe’s forests.

Second Ministerial Conference – Helsinki 1993
Achievement:
Ministerial declaration and four resolutions for the promotion of sustainable forest management, conservation of biological diversity, climate change strategies with regard to forests, increased co-operation with countries transitioning to market economies.
 
Third Ministerial Conference – Lisbon 1998
Achievement:
Ministerial declaration and two resolutions focusing on the relationship and interaction between forest and society; Endorsement of Pan-European Criteria, Indicators and Operational Level Guidelines for Sustainable Forest Management and the Pan-European Biodiversity Work Programme (1997-2000).

Fourth Ministerial Conference – Vienna 2003
Achievement:
Ministerial declaration and five resolutions focusing on cross-sectoral cooperation and national forest programmes, economic viability of sustainable forest management, social and cultural aspects, forest biological diversity and forests and climate change.

Fifth Ministerial Conference - Warsaw 2007
Achievement:
Ministerial declaration and two resolutions in the context of climate change, focusing on the promotion of wood as a renewable energy carrier and the role of forest in water protection.

A detailed overview of all previous FOREST EUROPE declarations and resolutions is available as pdf under www.foresteurope.org/eng/Commitments.

Next FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe – 14-16 June 2011 in Oslo, Norway

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