Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe Bulletin

 


Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in collaboration with the MCPFE Liaison Unit Warsaw

 

Vol. 84 No. 3
Saturday, 10 November 2007

SUMMARY OF THE FIFTH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE:

5-7 NOVEMBER 2007

The Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE 5) was held from 5-7 November 2007 at the Sheraton Warsaw Hotel, in Warsaw, Poland. The conference, which centered on the theme “Forests for Quality of Life,” was attended by Ministers responsible for forests and high-level representatives of 44 European countries and the European Community, as well as representatives of 14 observer countries and 31 observer organizations. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss and take decisions on the future of the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe.

Conference participants adopted the Warsaw Declaration and resolutions on “Forests, Wood and Energy” and “Forests and Water.” The documents focus, inter alia, on the role of forests in energy production, mitigating climate change and protecting water quality and quantity. Ministers also adopted Ministerial Statements on the Southern European forest fires and on declaring 20-24 October 2008 as the Pan-European Forest Week 2008. Other highlights of the conference included: a multi-stakeholder dialogue; a poster session presenting countries’ and organizations’ achievements in implementing MCPFE commitments; presentations of up-to-date information on the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM) at national and regional levels; a signing ceremony for the Warsaw Declaration and the two Resolutions; and an excursion to the Kozienicka Forest.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MCPFE

The MCPFE is a high-level political initiative working towards the protection and sustainable management of forests throughout the region. Forty-six European countries and the European Union, cooperating with a range of international organizations, are involved in this initiative.

MCPFE 1: The first MCPFE took place in Strasbourg, France, on 18 December 1990. Recognizing increasing threats to European forests and the need for cross-border protection, participants agreed to initiate scientific and technical cooperation in Europe, and the incorporation of scientific data into political action. They adopted a General Declaration and six resolutions on: a European network of permanent sample plots for the monitoring of forest ecosystems; conservation of forest genetic resources; a decentralized European Data Bank on forest fires; adapting the management of mountain forests to new environmental conditions; expansion of the EUROSILVA Network of research on tree physiology; and a European network for research on forest ecosystems.

MCPFE 2: MCPFE 2 was held in Helsinki, Finland, from 16-17 June 1993. Building on the Strasbourg Resolutions and responding to many of the forest-related decisions adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, participants adopted a General Declaration and four Resolutions on: general guidelines for SFM in Europe; general guidelines for the conservation of the biodiversity of European forests; forestry cooperation with countries with economies in transition; and strategies for a process of long-term adaptation of forests in Europe to climate change.

FOLLOW-UP TO THE HELSINKI CONFERENCE: At the fifth Expert-Level Meeting on the follow-up to the Helsinki Conference, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8-9 December 1997, delegates adopted a Work Programme on the conservation and enhancement of biological and landscape diversity in forest ecosystems for the period of 1997-2000. The Work Programme was a joint initiative of the MCPFE and the pan-European Ministerial Process “Environment for Europe,” defining objectives and actions in the field of biological diversity as an essential element of SFM.

MCPFE 3: MCPFE 3 was held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 2-4 June 1998. The Conference focused on the socioeconomic aspects of SFM and affirmed important outcomes of the Helsinki follow-up process. Participants adopted a General Declaration and two resolutions on: people, forests and forestry – enhancement of socioeconomic aspects of SFM; and pan-European criteria, indicators and operational level guidelines for SFM.

FOLLOW-UP TO THE LISBON CONFERENCE: At the second Expert-Level Meeting on the follow-up to the Lisbon Conference held in Vienna from 28-29 October 1999, participants adopted the MCPFE’s Work Programme for the period of 1999-2003, constituting a key element of the follow-up of the Lisbon Conference and setting out concrete actions for the implementation of the MCPFE commitments.

MCPFE 4: MCPFE 4 was held in Vienna, Austria, from 28-30 April 2003. Conference participants adopted the Vienna Living Forest Summit Declaration “European Forests - Common Benefits, Shared Responsibilities,” and five resolutions on: strengthening synergies for SFM in Europe through cross-sectoral cooperation and national forest programmes; enhancing the economic viability of SFM in Europe; preserving and enhancing the social and cultural dimensions of SFM in Europe; conserving and enhancing forest biological diversity in Europe; and climate change and SFM in Europe.

FOLLOW-UP TO THE VIENNA CONFERENCE: At the Expert-Level Meeting on the follow-up to the Vienna Conference held in Vienna from 28-29 April 2003, participants adopted the MCPFE’s Work Programme for the period 2003-2007 for the implementation of the commitments agreed at MCPFE 4, comprising 30 pan-European actions for implementation.

PREPARATIONS FOR MCPFE 5: MCPFE Expert-Level Meetings were held in Warsaw, Poland, on 5-6 June and 3-4 September 2007, to follow up on three drafting meetings held earlier in 2007 and to finalize the documents for MCPFE 5. The experts finalized the content of the documents for the Warsaw Ministerial Summit, including the draft Ministerial Declaration, and the resolutions on “Forests, Wood and Energy” and “Forests and Water.” 

REPORT OF MCPFE 5

OPENING PLENARY

On Monday, 5 November, Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland, opened MCPFE 5 and welcomed participants to Warsaw. He drew linkages between forests and climate change and highlighted Poland’s achievements in increasing its forest cover in the past 15 years. Noting Poland’s infrastructure development, he outlined the need to find compromise between environmental protection and development.

Terje Riis-Johansen, Minister of Agriculture and Food of Norway and Co-Chair of MCPFE 5, acknowledged the significant preparations that took place prior to this conference and urged participants to deliver the necessary results. He said that both energy and water are core elements of the political debate on climate change, and emphasized the importance of securing sustainable forest management (SFM) to enhance the contribution of forests to quality of life.

Jan Szyszko, Minister of the Environment of Poland and Co-Chair of MCPFE 5, underscored the role of sound forest management in combating climate change, species extinction and desertification, and highlighted Poland’s successes in forest management, including afforestation programmes and meeting the needs of the population. He said that European forest conditions have improved over the last 17 years, while supporting business development and job creation, and alleviating climate change.

The MCPFE 5 agenda was then adopted by acclamation.

EUROPE’S FORESTS – STATE OF THE ART AND CHALLENGES AHEAD

On Monday, Co-Chair Szyszko introduced this thematic session. Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, emphasized the need to balance two objectives in the forest sector: encouraging competitiveness; and supporting the role of forests in maintaining biodiversity, water, climate and quality of life. She also reported on the Commission’s and the European Union’s work done under the Forest Action Plan. She highlighted the fact that biomass currently provides a major share of energy use, and drew attention to the essential role of forests in reaching the European Union (EU) goal of twenty per cent of total energy use to come from renewable sources.

Marek Belka, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), identified several conclusions from the MCPFE report “State of Europe’s Forests,” in particular: that Europe is moving towards SFM, with the next challenge being to develop a rational consensus on the role of wood in renewable energy supply; and that indicators of SFM are working, though a few countries have not given sufficient policy priority to monitoring forests, and some possess very weak forest sector institutions. He noted UNECE’s contribution to the work done by MCPFE, and promised to intensify its cooperation.

Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), noted FAO’s close involvement in the MCPFE process, and lauded the latter’s political leadership. He said regional cooperation around the world is being strengthened by the European example. He noted that progress in achieving SFM has been uneven and much remains to be done, and that the profile of forests needs to be raised in the climate debate. He referred to several increasing trends, including forest fires, deforestation, urban expansion, conversion of forests to agricultural land, as well as the prospect of rising prices for wood.

Piotr Borkowski, Head of the MCPFE Liaison Unit Warsaw, presented the MCPFE report “Implementation of MCPFE Commitments: National and Pan-European Activities 2003-2007.” He outlined the main messages of the report, noting, inter alia, that: most countries have developed and are implementing their national forest programmes (NFPs), and that socioeconomic aspects of forest management have been reflected within these NFPs; wood is being promoted as a renewable raw material and a source of bio-energy; and forest management activities have been modified to ensure protection of forest biological diversity. He said that the MCPFE work programme has effectively contributed to NFP implementation across Europe, including a study and recommendations on illegal logging and its associated trade in Europe.

Michael Köhl, University of Hamburg, and Ewald Rametsteiner, Boku University, presented the report, “State of Europe’s Forests 2007: The MCPFE Report on Sustainable Forest Management in Europe.” Noting that the report is structured according to the Pan-European Criteria and Indicators for SFM, and describes trends from 1990-2005, they reported, inter alia, that: Europe’s forest area, wood volume harvesting and biomass carbon reserves are increasing; forest ecosystem health and vitality need improvement, as tree resilience to withstand environmental impacts has been reduced; and production, consumption and exports have increased.

In his concluding remarks, Co-Chair Szyszko underlined the collaborative efforts of countries and organizations in preparing the reports.

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE

The multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD), held on Monday, was facilitated by Hosny El-Lakany, Professor of Forestry, University of British Columbia. He launched the discussion by dwelling on the role of civil society in raising the profile of forest-related problems in international negotiations. Recalling that civil society’s interaction with governments was not always favorable, as well as the dissatisfaction felt by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with progress in promoting dialogue, he observed that now the prevailing atmosphere is of coexistence, rather than confrontation. He called upon the MSD participants to come out with suggestions, in this new spirit of collaboration, and invited statements from various representatives from UN Major Groups.

Olga Pentelkina, International Forestry Students Association (IFSA), speaking on behalf of youth, described the status and activities of IFSA and its contribution in reaching the European goals in the forestry sector. She said that successful implementation of SFM requires awareness raising, training and education, and that this should be reflected in the Warsaw documents. She said IFSA will continue to promote dialogue between young professionals and decision-makers, and facilitate student participation in forest processes and projects.

Pierre-Olivier Drège, President of the European State Forest Association, on behalf of state forest owners, expressed commitment to achieve states’ targets on increasing renewable energy production by mobilization of wood biomass, and to take part in the development of projects demonstrating the forest’s potential for carbon sequestration through afforestation and forest management.

Andrzej Matysiak, Director-General of the State Forests of Poland, also on behalf of state forest owners, emphasized that Poland’s state forestry practices are cost-effective. He highlighted national experiences with maintaining and enhancing its state forests, including designation of forest areas for SFM, education and research, development of nature protection plans, and stock-taking in national forests.

Stefan Schenker, President of the Confederation of European Forest Owners, on behalf of family forest owners, landowners and community forest owners, emphasized the need for secure property and land tenure rights as a prerequisite for SFM, and for communication with other sectors about products and services emerging from SFM. He welcomed the proposed Pan-European Forest Week as a means of increasing the visibility of the forest sector, and called for investing in the prevention of forest fires.

Elisabet Salander Bjorklund, Executive Vice President of the Confederation of European Paper Industries, on behalf of forest-based industries, urged the implementation of adequate policies and instruments for increasing wood biomass use, and cautioned that strict resource efficiency requirements will be needed to avoid wastefulness in energy production. She argued that forest products should take precedence over bio-energy, and that forest industries in Europe were already using clean energy efficiently.

Edgar Castanhold, Secretary-General of the European Network of Forest Entrepreneurs, on behalf of social NGOs, drew attention to the role forestry plays as a source of employment and income. He called for support to rural development and securing markets by harmonizing European procurement policies and basing the policies on criteria and indicators for SFM. He also called for strengthening forest governance and implementing criteria and indicators to stop undermining European social standards.

Risto Paivinen, Director of the European Forest Institute, on behalf of the scientific community, said the scientific community appreciates the clear commitments to enhancing research on using wood as bio-energy, as indicated in the draft Resolution on forests, wood and energy, and called for more systematic integration of the community’s input in MCPFE activities.

Gerald Steindlegger, Manager of the Forest Programme of WWF-International, on behalf of environmental NGOs, pointed to weaknesses in the MCPFE process, including delayed implementation of critical commitments by many countries, such as illegal harvesting and its associated trade. He recommended integration of SFM into other land-use policies, and advocated a holistic approach in the Resolution on forests, wood and energy, to include biodiversity values and socioeconomic aspects, noting that the primary role of forests in greenhouse gas emissions reduction is maintaining forest stock.

Martin Kaiser, Political Advisor for Greenpeace International, also on behalf of environmental NGOs, said European forests will not significantly contribute to climate change mitigation while deforestation in tropical regions continues. He also called for: cross-sectoral action plans; developing and implementing responsible purchasing and lending policies; and promoting credible certification systems.

In the ensuing discussion, a view was offered that the health of forests in Europe will heavily depend on challenging developments outside the region, in particular, regarding globalization, and in the fields of energy, climate change and agriculture, and that present European policy tools may not be sufficient to deal with “the unexpected.” These views were echoed by several participants, with some making the point that pan-European problems have global solutions, and Europe, as a major wood consumer, has responsibilities lying beyond the region. The question of woody biomass production for energy use was raised by a number of delegates, who referred to the possibility of it leading to severe wood price increases and deforestation, if not controlled. A speaker stressed that wood-based bio-energy should be developed together with the private sector, and that SFM should not be compromised in the process. A participant suggested that governments should work together across borders in an open manner, with all relevant stakeholders participating in formulating policy and implementing commitments. A number of proposals were made from the floor, including on forest certification, ending “the infatuation” with bio-energy, using wood for energy only at the end of its life-cycle, legislation curbing timber trade from illegal logging, and addressing the problem of European demand driving unsustainable practices in other regions, like in the production of agrofuels.

On Tuesday, 6 November, El-Lakany presented a summary of the MSD, recapping views expressed by the Major Groups and in the ensuing discussion. He said the summary would be included in the report of the meeting.

SIGNATORY COUNTRY, EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, OBSERVER COUNTRY AND OBSERVER ORGANIZATION STATEMENTS

SIGNATORY COUNTRIES AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY: Delegates heard statements of Signatory Countries and the European Community on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland, described the pattern of wood use in Finland, called for a balance between industrial and energy uses for wood, and for more research, including on risk assessment and diseases in forests. She urged strengthened European cooperation, and expressed willingness to organize a pan-European meeting on forests and the changing environment in 2008, as a regional contribution to United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).

Genci Hoxhaj, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration, Albania, reported on his country’s forest strategy, which he said embraces SFM implementation through a set of reforms, rational exploitation of forests, transferring forests from state to community ownership, and legislative steps in line with EU legislation. He expressed gratitude for assistance in combating forests fires.

Gerhard Mannsberger, Director-General of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water, Austria, said Austria is currently analyzing the full potential of wood that can be mobilized sustainably from national forests. In looking to the future of the MCPFE, he prioritized: finalizing Pan-European guidelines for afforestation and reforestation in the context of climate change mitigation; contributing as a region to the UNFF; and reviewing the MCPFE to look into how forest policy in the region can be strengthened, including the option of a European convention on forests.

Piotr Semashko, Minister of Forestry, Republic of Belarus, reported on national efforts on certification, forest monitoring, and adapting forest management plans in the face of climate change. He called for further research in forests in Belarus, pointing to the unique nature of his country’s forests as a natural border between boreal and temperate forests. He offered to host a conference on the practical use of scientific studies to support forest management.

Benoit Lutgen, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Tourism, Belgium, described progress towards achievement of SFM in Belgium and increasing forest cover. He called for providing incentives to private forest owners to plant a diversity of species, including slow-growing ones.

Phil Woolas, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom (UK), highlighted the UK’s role in promoting forest restoration globally through the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration. He called for payments for ecosystem services to help generate alternative resources in promoting SFM, and noted an upcoming proposal for a UK climate change bill that aims to reduce national emissions by 60% by 2050.

Karel Turecek, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Czech Republic, highlighted the importance of bio-energy to his country, and said that politicians and local administrators as well as foresters and water managers should take up water resource management issues. He noted that his country’s NFP will be updated to reflect commitments made at MCPFE 5.

Herman Susnik, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Croatia, noted that most of Croatia’s forests are naturally regenerated rather than artificially planted. He called for integrating the “Year of Forests 2011” into the “Pan-European Forest Week 2008.”

Alexandros Christodoulou, Chief Conservator of Forests, Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Cyprus, highlighted Cypress’s NFP and adoption and implementation of criteria and indicators for SFM based on Pan-European guidelines. He emphasized that forest fires are a major national problem and called for cooperation among governments to face the problem.

Stefan Yurukov, Chairman of the State Forestry Agency, Bulgaria, commended the MCPFE on enhancing transboundary cooperation and linkages between national, regional and international forest policy processes. He welcomed the Warsaw Resolutions and noted that all countries present at MCPFE 5 aim to achieve the same goal of balancing the social, economic and ecological roles of forests.

J.Ch. Briand Petersen, Danish Forest and Nature Agency, informed the meeting that due to the upcoming national elections on 13 November, Denmark would be unable to sign the Warsaw documents now, but they will be forwarded to the new government for consideration.

Rita Annus, Deputy Minister of Environment, Estonia, reported on national plans and activities in the forest sector in her country, noting that forests are monitored and evaluated using Pan-European indicators. She commended the Warsaw documents as a balanced expression of European agreement.

Hilkka Summa, European Commission, presented the EU perspective, including its Forest Action Plan, and voiced support to the Warsaw documents as reflecting the current challenges, including the need for good governance and combating illegal logging. She urged the use of biomass as an energy source in a sustainable way, and improving forest fire management capabilities at all levels. She also placed emphasis on communicating with civil society.              

Alain Moulinier, Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, France, gave an overview of the Warsaw Declaration and other MCPFE 5 outcomes, focusing on: renewable energy and balancing the role of biomass production with other energy sources; the Pan-European Forest Week; and combating forest fires. He commended the MCPFE Liaison Unit Warsaw for ensuring an efficient process. 

Edward Janiak, Holy See, referred to the importance of education on SFM, and renewable energy.

On Tuesday, Richard Lammel, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Germany, said that water resource management is an important challenge of the future, which requires cross-border cooperation. He noted that the MCPFE Work Programme should contribute to the efforts of the UNFF.

Konstantinos Kiltidis, Minister of Rural Development and Food, Greece, expressed gratitude for the quick European support to combat recent forest fires in Greece and restore the natural environment.             

Janos Kiss, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hungary, stressed the need to implement the Warsaw resolutions. He called for special attention to the economic viability of forests, and referred to their role in addressing floods, as well as in awareness raising and the social significance of forests.

Throstur Eysteinsson, Forest Service, Iceland, described the particular situation of his country, which lacks forest resources but imports forest products. He emphasized Europe’s responsibilities arising from increased imports of wood, a trend that could lead to the reduction of forest cover elsewhere.

Mary Wallace, Minister of State, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Ireland, welcomed the two MCPFE reports. She noted the role of forests in providing energy security and a low carbon future, and described forest policies in Ireland.

Stefano Boco, Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, Italy, noted the quality of the MCPFE documents. He welcomed the increased awareness of the role of forests, after the recent devastating fires and floods in Europe.

Arvids Ozols, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Latvia, highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral solutions in addressing the challenge of balancing wood production and provision of forest services. He commented on the importance of land tenure in enhancing SFM, noting that Latvian land reform has increased the number of private forest owners, and of using a participatory approach to policy change.

Felix Nascher, Director General of Ministry of Environment Affairs, Agriculture and Forestry, Liechtenstein, called for a cross-ministerial dialogue in addition to a cross-sectoral approach. He supported efforts to create a European forest convention that aims to enhance quality of life, and suggested establishing binding targets.

Arunas Kundrotas, Minister of Environment, Lithuania, welcomed the Non-legally Binding Instrument for the Sustainable Management of All Types of Forests (NLBI) that was adopted at the seventh session of UNFF, and highlighted recent developments in Lithuania, including the increased use of wood energy for heating. He underscored the need to improve dialogue with society on the importance of SFM in achieving sustainable development.

Fernand Boden, Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Luxembourg, said his country was working on projects to replace fossil fuels with woody biomass, strengthening cooperation with private forest owners, and developing a forest zoning system for protection of water resources.

Milosav Andjelic, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Republic of Montenegro, said forest-based enterprises were key to the development of his nation’s economy, especially in terms of revenue in rural areas. He said his country is looking to improve institutional and legal frameworks for SFM and the condition of all forests.

Han de Groot, Deputy Director of the Department of Nature, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Netherlands, brought attention to increasing public support for timber certification and proof of legality, and the importance of educating youth on sustainability. He cautioned that global development of bioenergy may lead to greater dependence and pressure on forests.

Terje Riis-Johansen, Minster of Agriculture and Food, Norway, noting Norway’s ambitions to become carbon-neutral by 2050, outlined proposed national measures to significantly increase use of wood from SFM areas for bio-energy. He underscored the need for further research, and for increasing wood production to appease demand.

Jan Szyszko, Minister of Environment, Poland, emphasized transforming SFM into a self-financing process and creating markets for forest services. He called for intersectoral cooperation, and supported other ministers in their call for a regional convention on forests.

Rui Gonçalves, Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment, Portugal, noted national efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. He pointed to planning instruments that contribute to reducing the risk of forest fires, including: mobilizing forest biomass for energy purposes in areas with high forest fire potential; and, combining small states into single forest management units to avoid difficulties in planning due to fragmented forest ownership.

Grubii Ghenadie, Head of the Forestry Service and Forest Regeneration, Moldova, presented on his country’s experience in SFM, particularly in conservation, afforestation, and combating illegal logging. He suggested strengthening the structure of European forest cooperation.

Ciprian Pahontu, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Romania, urged the involvement of all actors and mobilization of resources to achieve the internationally agreed goals and programmes related to forests. He reaffirmed support for the outcome of the conference. 

Valery Roshchupkin, Head of the Federal Forest Agency, Russian Federation, commended the conference documents. He reported on his country’s implementation of previous MCPFE decisions, and outlined several Russian initiatives, including holding an international conference on forests and climate, and developing forest fire rapid response centers.

Danilo Golubovic, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Serbia, presented on national policies and programmes, and pointed out the link between forests and people’s cultural and spiritual needs.

Miroslav Jurena, Minister of Agriculture, Slovak Republic, dwelt on national priorities and activities, emphasized his country’s intention to implement the MCPFE 5 decisions, and offered to host MCPFE 8.

Iztok Jarc, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Slovenia, praised the MCPFE 5 decisions, and proposed launching a new process to develop a legally binding instrument on forests in Europe.

Jose Luis Herranz Saez, Director-General for Biodiversity, Ministry of Environment, Spain, commented on his country’s adoption of a strategic national forest planning instrument to continue to implement SFM and conserve biodiversity. He noted that both Warsaw resolutions were important to his country, in the face of recent forest fires and increasing droughts. He said Spain will cooperate closely with Norway with the intention of hosting MCPFE 7.

Rolf Eriksson, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden, encouraged coordination and cooperation with other regional initiatives in the field of renewable energy, and synchronizing the work programmes of the MCPFE, FAO and UNECE. He called for an external review of the MCPFE process, to assess its added value and consider the process’s next steps.

Andreas Götz, Vice-Director, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, said that credibility and trust in the forestry sector is emerging as a central challenge, calling for participatory planning, and noted Switzerland’s inter-sectoral cooperation with water suppliers to protect ground water. He expressed interest in assessing the idea of a regional forest convention.

Osmon Kahveci, General Director of the General Directorate of Forestry, Turkey, noted national achievements, including: giving priority to the social functions of forests; increasing the number of recreational areas and wood production; and intensifying involvement of stakeholders. He said that much of Turkey’s forests are managed for fuelwood production, and listed forestry activities that contribute to eradicating poverty.

Viktor Sivets, Head of Forest Management, State Forestry Committee, Ukraine, said the state forest programme of Ukraine is being successfully implemented, amendments have been made to the forest code, and land and forest management policies have been harmonized. He added that forest area and certified forest areas in his country have increased, and that the rural road system has been enhanced.

OBSERVER COUNTRIES: Sevugan Regupathy, Minister of Environment and Forests, India, called for additional financial resources, capacity building and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to implement international commitments to SFM. He commented on forests’ contributions to poverty eradication, and noted that in India, social and environmental benefits of forests are prioritized over commercial ones.

Jaye Shuttleworth, Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada, elaborated on her country’s forest policies and challenges, noting that forests are regarded as having a sanctuary, cultural, environmental and economic value. She noted the beneficial significance of MCPFE.

Abdeladim Lhafi, High Commissioner for Water and Forests, Prime Ministry, Morocco, presented on his country’s special environmental conditions and their effect on national forests, in particular, from land erosion, drought, water scarcity, overgrazing and climate change.

Leslie Weldon, Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, United States (US), described her country’s Forest Service’s mission, US initiatives and partnering with other countries to better manage forests. She said that regional approaches are crucial to addressing forest issues, and informing global climate discussions..

OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS: Yuichi Sato, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, speaking on behalf of the Montreal Process on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests, described current work on finalizing the revision of criteria and indicators.

Eladio Fernandez-Galiano, Council of Europe, offered increased cooperation to the MCPFE process in areas of the Council’s concern, and expressed readiness to provide expertise for developing a possible legally binding instrument on European forests.

Jean-Claude Monin, President of the European Observatory of Mountain Forests, highlighted the importance of mountain forests, which serve as guardians of freshwater for the planet.

Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General, FAO, detailed FAO’s close involvement in joint activities to prepare and implement the MCPFE commitments, and promised continued support to the process.

Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director-General of the IUCN-The World Conservation Union, described IUCN’s contribution to furthering the aims of SFM, highlighted several priority approaches, in particular, payment for ecosystem services, and stated that MCPFE is an example of regional cooperation for other regions.

Virginia Cram Martos, Director of the Trade and Timber Division, UNECE, elaborated on UNECE’s work in implementing past MCPFE resolutions and work programmes. She queried what the best use of rural land in Europe was, given the debate on wood and bioenergy, and called on countries to invest in forest monitoring.

Ivonne Higuero, UNEP, highlighted achievements of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, and outlined forest problems remaining to be addressed, including invasive alien species, illegal logging and habitat destruction. She stressed upholding SFM principles in using alternative energy sources, to take into account biodiversity and landscape considerations.

Pekka Patosaari, Director of the UNFF Secretariat, said the implementation of NLBI will need adequate financing. He noted that the NLBI, which promotes a holistic approach to implementation, has a strong focus on inter- and intra-regional cooperation, and provides countries with a number of policy proposals intended to steer and assist SFM implementation.

Andrey Kushlin, Senior Forestry Specialist, World Bank, said the Bank had made strategic investments in forest-related innovation, capacity building and training, and highlighted past productive collaboration with the European region, namely the Europe and North Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance process. He said the World Bank would assist in elaborating a financial mechanism for implementation of the NLBI.

SIGNING CEREMONY AND CLOSING OF THE CONFERENCE

On Tuesday afternoon, Co-Chair Szyszko presented the two Ministerial Statements, which were adopted by acclamation. Delegates then adopted the two Warsaw Resolutions, “Forests, Wood and Energy” and “Forests and Water,” and the Warsaw Declaration. A signing ceremony was held, during which Ministers and Heads of Delegation of the Signatory States signed the Warsaw Declaration and Resolutions.

Co-Chair Szyszko invited Germany and the Slovak Republic to replace Austria in the General Coordinating Committee (GCC), which has the task of facilitating and coordinating the work of the MCPFE. Gerhard Mannsberger, Director-General of the Forestry Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water, Austria, said the number of countries on the GCC had increased from four to five due to the greater number of MCPFE signatories and the increased workload. Miroslav Jurena (Slovak Republic), and Richard Lammel (Germany) expressed their gratitude and accepted the invitations on behalf of their countries.

Co-Chair Riis-Johansen said there was an increasing understanding of the contribution of SFM to quality of life, both regionally and globally, and noted that the MCPFE, with its collaborating partners, can provide comprehensive input to Europe’s contribution to SFM.

Co-Chair Szyszko passed the MCPFE presidency to Norway, and lauded the achievements of MCPFE to date, including four Declarations and 17 Resolutions. He thanked participants and the Warsaw Liaison Unit, and gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:10pm..

EXCURSION TO KOZIENICKA FOREST

On Wednesday, 7 November, delegates participated in an excursion to the Kozienicka Forest, to view practical aspects of forest management in Poland. While strolling through the forest and crossing a reservoir on the Zala River, delegates heard presentations on: the history of Kozienicka Forest; the dominant tree species and other forest biodiversity in the region; regional forest fire protection measures, including an early detection system and fire fighting actions; and climate change and forestry.

SUMMARY OF THE WARSAW DECLARATION, RESOLUTIONS AND STATEMENTS

WARSAW DECLARATION

The Declaration includes a preamble and a set of commitments on: benefiting the quality of life; tackling challenges; global-regional cooperation and partnerships; and putting MCPFE commitments into action.

The preamble focuses on: awareness of change of climate conditions and its foreseen consequences for forest ecosystems, and recognizes the role of forests, SFM and forests products in climate change mitigation and the need for adaptation; the importance of wood as a renewable energy source; the role of forests in enhancing water quality and quantity; and the significant contribution of SFM to the achievement of internationally agreed goals, including the four Global Objectives on Forests agreed by the UNFF.

The representatives of Signatory States and the European Community make a number of commitments.

  • On benefiting the quality of life, they commit to:

  • ensure that forests play an active role in combating climate change;

  • maintain and enhance forest biodiversity through SFM;

  • enhance the use of wood as a renewable raw material and energy source from sustainably managed forests; and

  • ensure that forests play an active role in enhancing water quality and quantity and mitigating floods, droughts and other natural hazards.

On tackling challenges, they commit to, inter alia:

  • strengthen the competitiveness of the forest sector;

  • raise the profile of the multiple benefits of forests;

  • ensure that all wood production, including fast growing energy crops, is guided by the principles of sustainability to provide for fair competition between sectors;

  • coordinate SFM and integrated water resources management;

  • promote good governance and forest law enforcement to combat illegal logging and its associated trade; and

  • promote research and take effective measures to improve understanding between policy makers, practitioners and the scientific community.

On global-regional cooperation and partnerships, they commit to:

  • share European achievements and experiences with other regions;

  • contribute to the achievement of the four Global Objectives on Forests and the implementation of the NLBI;

  • develop consistent inputs from the Pan-European region to the UNFF’s work for 2007-2015;

  • strengthen collaboration of the MCPFE with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and contribute to the implementation of relevant work programmes of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and

  • encourage joint activities with UNECE and strengthen cooperation with regional bodies and processes in Europe.

On putting MCPFE commitments into action, they commit to:

  • develop a work programme for implementing MCPFE 5 commitments;

  • organize, with stakeholders, actions to raise public awareness of the importance of forests; and

  • carry out a review of the MCPFE process by MCPFE 6.

WARSAW RESOLUTION 1: FORESTS, WOOD AND ENERGY

This Resolution includes a preamble, and commitments on enhancing the role of the forest sector in energy production and mobilization of wood resources.

The preamble, inter alia: emphasizes that forest biomass, wood processing residues and recovered wood represent important sources of renewable energy that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels; notes the need to avoid undue distortion of competition between different end uses of wood; and recognizes the need to increase knowledge of the forest ecosystem’s role in long-term carbon sequestration in the context of a post-2012 climate regime.

On enhancing the role of the forest sector in energy production, the Signatory States and the European Community commit themselves to, inter alia:

  • take effective measures within the SFM framework to increase the use of woody biomass for energy generation, taking into account the importance of processing residues and recovered wood as renewable energy sources;

  • assess environmental impacts of wood production for energy;

  • adjust policies and instruments, including research and development, to support enabling conditions that encourage investments in producing and distributing bio-energy, increased mobilization, efficient use of wood and energy;

  • strengthen the forest sector’s position in cross-sectoral debates concerning energy through developing communication and raising awareness about present assets, the existing potential in the forest sector and multiple benefits of using wood fuel; and

  • encourage partnerships among public and private forest owners, forest-based industries and energy producers.

On mobilization of wood resources, they commit to:

  • analyze and assess the existing and potential wood resources in Europe;

  • ensure enabling conditions for increased sustainable wood production through stronger interlinking of national forest policies with policies on sustainable development, agriculture, land use, rural development, environment, energy and industry;

  • identify and remove unintended barriers to an increase of sustainable wood production and mobilization in forests of all types of ownership;

  • examine different practices under SFM and promote the use of a range of sustainable management systems including short rotation and coppice forestry, to increase wood mobilization to effectively address a growing demand for wood;

  • assess feasibility of mobilizing wood resources from areas outside forests;

  • promote capacity development of the forest workforce, entrepreneurs and managers in order to increase their ability to better respond to the needs of wood markets;

  • support mobilization of biomass from forests with high risk of fires; and

  • encourage sustainable management practices of wood production outside forests.

WARSAW RESOLUTION 2: FORESTS AND WATER

This Resolution includes a preamble, and commitments on: SFM in relation to water; coordinating policies on forests and water; forests, water and climate change; and economic valuation of water-related forest services.

The preamble, inter alia, expresses concern with the increase in forest fires, the effects of climate change on the frequency and intensity of fire hazards, and the growing imbalance between freshwater supply and demand. It stresses the need for adequate water conditions to sustain European society, and the role of forests and forest management in protecting and managing water quality and quantity, combating desertification and protecting soils. It further emphasizes that the full economic value of forests has to be adequately recognized, in particular the value of providing ecosystem services, and the need to involve local communities and other relevant stakeholders in planning and implementing water-related forest policies.

On SFM in relation to water, the Signatory States and the European Community commit to:

maintain and enhance protective functions of forests for water and soil, including through public and private partnerships;

assess afforestation and reforestation programmes in terms of their effects on quality and quantity of water resources, flood alleviation and soil; and

promote the restoration of degraded forests for the benefit of the water environment, flood reduction, biodiversity conservation and soil protection.

On coordinating policies on forests and water, they commit to:

  • develop and improve policies for forest and water resources management that contribute to maintaining ecosystems and sustainably provide services, and coordinate these policies through NFPs, integrating water resources management plans and strategies at appropriate levels;

  • develop adequate or improve the existing institutional arrangements to better cooperate in addressing the interrelation between forest and water issues;

  • address the management of forests and water at the transboundary watershed level through enhanced international cooperation; and

  • increase awareness of the relationship between forests and water.

On forests, water and climate change, they commit to: develop a deeper understanding of climate change’s potential consequences on forest and water interactions, including desertification, biodiversity loss, flooding, storms, droughts, forest fires, pests and diseases; and develop appropriate policies and strategies for managing forests and water resources sustainably to adapt to climate change and contribute to its mitigation.

On economic valuation of water-related forest services, they commit to:

  • assess the economic value of forest services related to quality and quantity of water resources and flood alleviation;

  • incorporate this economic valuation into relevant policies and strategies on forests and water; and

  • facilitate the development and implementation of measures which may include economic tools such as payments for ecosystem services, to broaden and diversify the financial basis for SFM and maintain the protective function of forests.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS

In the first Statement, Ministers declare the week of 20-24 October 2008 to be the Pan-European Forest Week 2008. The Statement says that this week should increase the visibility of forests and the forest sector, and raise awareness about their important contribution. To this end, it encourages governments and stakeholders to organize actions at all levels.

In the second Statement, Ministers express their sympathy and solidarity with the people and governments of Southern Europe, who recently suffered from the effects of forest fires, with special reference to the disasters in Greece in the summer of 2007. They express readiness to prevent such forest fires and to restore the potential of the affected areas.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

FIFTH ROUNDTABLE MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL: PROMOTING THE GROWTH, TRADE IN AND USE OF SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL: This meeting will take place from 20-22 November 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It will discuss the latest developments in bringing sustainable palm oil to the marketplace and developing, verifying, and implementing global standards on sustainable palm oil production. Of special interest will be the unveiling of the Roundtable�s Certification System, which is expected to be a significant step in opening the door to creating a sustainable palm oil market. For more information, contact: Ng Lay Mei, RT5 Secretariat; tel: +603-2168-8887; fax: +603-2168-8886; e-mail: Rt5@groundbreakers.com.my; internet: http://www.rspo.org/5th_Roundtable_Meeting_(RT5)_on_Sustainable_Palm_Oil.aspx

IUFRO TRAINING WORKSHOP: WORKING EFFECTIVELY AT THE INTERFACE OF FOREST SCIENCE AND FOREST POLICY: This meeting will take place from 4-6 December 2007 in Muguga/Nairobi, Kenya. Jointly organized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Forestry Research Network of Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA), the workshop will aim to provide concepts and methods to researchers on how to plan, conduct and organize research activities so that results can more quickly and easily be transformed into usable information for problem-solving and policy-making. For more information, contact: IUFRO Headquarters; tel: +43-1-877-01-51-0; fax: +43+1-877-01-51-50; e-mail: office@iufro.org; internet: http://www.iufro.org/science/special/spdc/actpro/wkspmal07/trainwshpnairobi/

FOREST DAY: SHAPING THE GLOBAL AGENDA FOR FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: The �Forest Day� event will take place on 8 December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, in parallel with the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. The event is an international forum on forest and climate change policies at the global, national and local levels. For more information, contact: Rachel Carmenta, CIFOR; tel: +62-251-622-6222; fax: +62-251-622-100; e-mail: r.carmenta@cgiar.org; internet: http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/Events/COP-ForestDay/Introduction.htm

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION: ROLES OF TRADITIONAL FOREST-RELATED KNOWLEDGE: This conference will be held from 17-20 December 2007 in Kunming, China. Organized by the IUFRO, FAO and others, the conference will provide a platform for the sharing of information and exchanging experiences related to traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) in the Asia-Pacific region, and will highlight the importance of TFRK in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and SFM. For more information, contact: Liu Jinlong, Chinese Academy of Forestry; e-mail: liujl@caf.ac.cn; internet: http://www.iufro.org/download/file/1928/3500/kunming07-tftfk-1st-announcemt-call.doc

DELHI SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT (DSDS) 2008: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting will be held from 7-9 February 2008 in New Delhi, India. DSDS will offer a platform for leading figures from the North and South to address the vital issues of climate change and sustainable development, and to set the stage for an intensified search for global solutions. For more information, contact: The Summit Secretariat, Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Initiative; tel: +91-11-24682100 / 41504900; fax: +91-11-24682144 / 24682145; e-mail: dsds@teri.res.in; internet: http://www.teriin.org/dsds/2008/index.htm

SIXTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will be held from 5-16 May 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The review session will focus on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. For more information, contact: DESA Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-8102; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: dsd@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd

EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UN FORUM ON FORESTS: UNFF 8 will take place from 20 April 2009 - 1 May 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Agenda items include working to reach agreement on a decision on voluntary global financial mechanisms, a portfolio approach and a forest financing framework. For more information, contact: tel: +1 212 963 3160 / 3401; fax: +1 917 367 3186; e-mail: unff@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/session.html

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Reem Hajjar and Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Joe Nyangon. The Polish Translator is Anna Pikus. The Polish Translation Editor is Marta Gaworska. The Editor is Hugh Wilkins <hugh@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Poland, and Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Norway. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or MCPFE Liaison Unit Warsaw. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St. Apt 11A, New York, NY 10022, USA.