"We have to fight against a worrying situation in order to save the threatened forests of this planet" said H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco at the
high level conference in the European Parliament celebrating the 2011 - International
Year of Forests. Hosted by MEP Gaston Franco, Chair of the “Forestry” Group of the EP
Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, the two-day
event organised around debates and exhibitions showed the paramount importance of
achieving and maintaining a balance among the multiple benefits of forests.
“We must unlock the true potential of Europe’s forests as an engine of green growth
across the continent, as well as recognising its major economic, social and environmental assets” said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, the
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Latest research indicates that 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. In
the face of climate change and the unprecedented economic crisis, forests have a
prominent role to play in sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation.
Demonstrating that, “with its emphasis on the transition to a green economy – and its
finance and human rights aspects”, Chris Vanden Bilcke, Head of UNEP Brussels concluded that “Rio +20 will have a major impact on forest policy.”
Achieving sustainability requires strengthening global governance, strong international
cooperation and the implementation and enforcement of laws. Successful partnerships
built with key countries such as Indonesia and Brazil through the Norwegian
Government’s Climate and Forest Initiative - REDD+ (Reduction Emissions from
Deforestation and Degradation)- "generate political commitments, emission reductions,
and valuable lessons learned" said Ambassador Hans Brattskar from the Norwegian
Ministry of Environment.
Taking action hand in hand with local population and regional foresters is fundamental.
Successful public and private programmes such as FUTUREforest, FLEG (Forest Law
Enforcement and Governance) and the conservation programme led by Air France in
Madagascar have demonstrated the added value of public participation in the decision
making process. Furthermore, education and knowledge sharing are "necessary for a
common understanding of the problems and for a coherent approach to the challenges
faced”, added Dr. Sjur Baardsen from COST, European Cooperation in Science and
Technology, who also stressed that dialogue between the scientific and the
political world should be fostered.
Calling for “a holistic approach towards forests involving all players and
including all policies”, MEP Gaston Franco concluded that “local population should find
an economic interest in preserving forests.”
Organised by the EP Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable
Development” run jointly by the European Bureau for Conservation and Development
(EBCD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership
with the seven Interreg IVc UTUREforest regions, Foundation Prince Albert II of
Monaco, the Mission of Norway to the EU, Air France, COST, EEA and UNEP, the
conference brought together over 250 participants including high level experts from
International, European and National Institutions, renowned scientists, NGOs and the
The conclusions and the presentations will be available shortly on: www.ebcd.org.
Mélanie Lamaison, EBCD
Tél: +32 2 230 30 70/+32 4 74 49 13 54