A pair of side events held at the margins of the eleventh meeting of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF11) highlighted the state of Europe's forests as well as progress in sustainable forest management (SFM) in the region.
13 May 2015: A pair of side events held at the margins of the eleventh meeting of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF11) highlighted the state of Europe’s forests as well as progress in sustainable forest management (SFM) in the region.
FOREST EUROPE held an event to celebrate its 25th anniversary highlighting achievements with regard to stakeholder engagement, elaboration of the concept of SFM and the adoption and ongoing revision of criteria and indicators on SFM.
In addition to presenting successes, the event identified a number of challenges facing forests in the region including: forest fires, energy demands, climate change, the abandonment of rural areas and land use change. The event also noted emerging opportunities for SFM including through synergies with other sectors, integrating forests into the green economy, forest sector job creation and the substitution of fossil fuels.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) also organized a side event to present their joint assessment of progress and challenges in the achievement of the Global Objectives on Forests in the region. The assessment notes that the ECE region accounts for over 41% of global forest cover. This coverage is expanding due in large part to natural expansion into abandoned agricultural areas.
The assessment also notes positive results with regard to the extension of protected and sustainably managed forests and increased official development assistance targeting SFM. However, the report notes that challenges remain in the achievement of targets related to the expansion of employment in the forest sector.
Just prior to the discussions at UNFF11, Croatia announced its accession to the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The accession brings membership in ITTO to 71 countries, the largest in the organization’s history. [FOREST EUROPE Press Release] [FOREST EUROPE UNFF11 Side Event Presentations] [Forests in the ECE Region – Trends and Challenges in Achieving the Global Objectives on Forests] [ITTO Press Releases] [Natural Resources Policy & Practice Story on UNECE – FAO forest assessment]