On 7 February 2019, EOS attended the High-Level Conference on Forests at the Heart of Sustainable Development, jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Benedek Jávor, and co-hosted with MEP Heidi Hautala, MEP José Inácio Faria, MEP Jo Leinen and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen.
The conference shed light on the diverse social, economic and environmental benefits linked to the sustainable management of forest resources and fostered collective thinking on potential pathways for tackling deforestation risks and scaling-up forests’ contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Key points raised during the conference:
- The EU Forest Strategy serves as a framework for ensuring policy consistency. The EC will continue to ensure its implementation until 2020. Forests are key both for the achievement of the Paris Agreement objectives and for the SDGs. Forests are now included in the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and the 2050 Climate Mitigation Strategy. Forests are also a key sector in the EU Bio-economy Strategy updated in 2018.
- Forests are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Deforestation, at a global level, is continuing despite multiple efforts to stop it. We must work together to move forward.
- Forests and forest biodiversity are essential for human health and wellbeing, however not everyone has equal access to these benefits. Disadvantaged, socially excluded groups of urban dwellings should also be targeted in terms of access to forests. More green areas should be integrated in current urban planning.
Honourable MEP Paul Brannen stressed about the need to talk about the real value of wood. Engineered timber, for example, locks up carbon so there is a huge possibility for storing carbon in wooden buildings. Mr Brannen call for putting wood at the heart of a sustainable bio-economy in Europe and in the world.
Copy of the message delivered by the Commissioner Karmenu Vella at the High Level Conference “Forests at the heart of sustainable development” is available HERE.