Forest Europe Ministerial Conference June 2011Securing healthy, sustainably managed forests in the light of climate change and its severe consequences is one of the biggest challenges we have to solve in Europe and globally. This is the headline from the Forest Europe Ministerial Conference that opened today, hosted by Norway.

The fact that Europe’s forests are increasing represents a huge potential in helping to solve these challenges and sustain the vital values deriving from forests for people, their livelihood, our environment and future generations.

One of the main outcomes of the conference is an eagerly awaited strengthening of a strengthened policy framework for sustainable forest management throughout Europe. Ministers are expected to decide whether to enter into negotiations on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe. The stance that the UK Government will take is currently unclear but given the UK’s exemplary record we should have high expectations.  The UK’s Forestry Commission was awarded a WWF ‘Gift to the Earth’ in 2001 for its contribution to and delivery on sustainable forestry, and was the first state forestry service to achieve 100% certification for its woods.

Gabriel Hemery

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