LULUCF: Council position and joint letter of the forest sector to the trilogue

On 13 October, in follow-up to recent developments with regard to the LULUCF regulation, the Environment Council agreed its negotiating position (general approach) on a regulation, establishing new accounting rules and binding commitments for member states, with the objection of Poland and Hungary and the abstention of Finland. Concerning the forest reference levels which have been at the center of the latest debates:

-the reference scenario is based on the continuation of 2000-2009 harvest practices and intensity;

the creation of a reserve of 359 million tons of CO2 equivalent over 10 years for forest-rich Member States to compensate for debits from forest management;

an additionnal compensation of 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent for the period 2021-2030 for Finland.

In view of the trilogue negotiation which started on 19 October 2017, EUSTAFOR and seven other organizations of the European forestry and agricultural sectors addressed their concerns regarding the proposal for a Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation through a letter addressed to trilogue negotiators.

20171018 Comp Joint letter to Trilogue on LULUCF from forestry and agricultural sectors

 

Global challenges need a strong forest bioeconomy: Looking ahead to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy – EUSTAFOR contributes 8 policy messages

Press Release
17 November 2017
Brussels, Belgium

“The renewed policy context provides a new momentum for updating the EU Bioeconomy Strategy,” affirms Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR). “We support a Bioeconomy Strategy which recognizes the full value of forestry’s contribution towards meeting global challenges as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and which would give more coherence to the EU Policy framework.”

Today, EUSTAFOR is launching eight policy messages, a contribution on behalf of state forests to the debate on advancing the European bioeconomy. Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area and provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials in addition to many  other important ecosystem services. Moreover, EUSTAFOR members – European State Forest Management Organizations – perceive themselves as catalyzers of the bioeconomic development in European countries and regions due to their scale, stability and commitment to sustainable forest management.

On 16 November 2017, the European Commission launched its review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, which reports on the role of the bioeconomy in research and innovation and within the context of EU policy.

EUSTAFOR is contributing 8 policy messages geared towards achieving an ambitious update of the strategy. The messages are available at this link.

More information on the same topic can be found in EUSTAFOR’s brochure: “State Forests Boost the Bioeconomy,” which is available at this link.

 

Sustainable forestry enables the bioeconomy: Eight policy messages – EUSTAFOR looks ahead to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy

The bioeconomy has the potential to be the next major economic development, especially in rural and remote areas of Europe. Shifting to a bioeconomy is also of central importance towards fulfilling the ambitions of Paris Agreement in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area. They provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials as well as other ecosystem services to create the much-needed shift to a sustainable circular economy. The use of domestically available raw materials has a positive impact on securing the supply of energy and goods. At the same time, the diversity in terms of needs and capacities between the different European regions must be acknowledged. Fostering sustainable forest management throughout Europe will safeguard and avoid the risk of over-exploitation resulting from higher demands on forests.

In order to allow the forestry sector to fully contribute to Europe’s targets in relation to employment, research and development, climate change and energy, education and social inclusion, the European state forests are looking forward to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy, which will:

1. Improve policy coherence

To deploy investments, the market needs to have a clear political direction. Therefore, a long‑term vision and commitment to developing the European bioeconomy is needed. Ambitious goals need to be set and actions must be monitored over time. EUSTAFOR supports a stable and coherent legal and policy framework, especially in relation to the 2030 climate and energy framework and its connection with the deployment of the bioeconomy.

2. Encompass the ecosystem management dimension

The market value of sustainable products needs to be enhanced by promoting sustainable management of (forest) ecosystems and the supply of raw materials. An objective and comparative evaluation of the ecosystem services and non-wood products which forestry provides to society should be better recognized and more fully valued. The evaluation should incorporate market-based tools.

3. Recognize the triple climate benefits forests provide

Sustainably managed forests and wood use deliver a triple carbon effect in mitigating climate change. They provide emission removal, carbon storage, and carbon displacement if wood is used to substitute for non- renewable and highly energy-intensive materials.

Policy needs to recognize the forest sector’s total positive contribution to mitigating climate change and foster sustainable multifunctional forestry. Specific instruments such as Green “climate-fit” Public Procurements (e.g. supporting wood such as Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) over other materials for use in construction) need to be adopted.

 4. Value innovation and technology transfers

The connectivity and innovation capacity of the forest sector should be promoted. A strong innovation strategy and resources for technology transfer could significantly accelerate the development of the sector. In order to provide adequate conditions and to develop best practices in forestry operations, the development and research of silvicultural practices needs to be strengthened and technological developments and digitalization need to be supported.

5. Enhance the full range of uses of biomass

Creating value and profitability in all parts of the value cycle are key to a truly innovative bioeconomy. Restrictions on the use of biomass for certain products or supplies could lead to market distortions and cap research, innovation and development. Restrictions on biomass use could result in sub-optimal value cycles, limit innovation and penalize certain areas or industries over others.

6. Support new markets

There is a need to improve the flow of materials and residues within and between different industries and users in order to foster the efficiency of forest-based value cycles. Policy should, therefore, promote innovative pathways and new market opportunities for the use of wood. For example, improved product design rules could provide better opportunities for the recycling and reuse of forest materials.

7. Improve the competitiveness of forestry

In developing the bioeconomy, the mobilization of woody biomass needs to be fostered following the principles of Sustainable Forest Management. More support should be given to technological developments, workforce education and the enhancement of silvicultural practices.

EUSTAFOR recognizes the potential of a Bioeconomy Knowledge Center to improve sector competitiveness by developing cooperation, reaching new markets and better valuating the services provided by Europe’s forests.

8. Foster awareness and promote cooperation

The bioeconomy should be perceived as an opportunity to ensure the vitality of forest ecosystems, to promote green employment and increase the social value of forestry for the benefit of all. Full advantage must be taken of the synergies created by using wood and improving land management, by raising consumer awareness about the full bio-based value cycles and by promoting cooperation among experts and stakeholders.

EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, gathers together 33 State Forest Management Organizations from across Europe, which often are the single largest forest manager and biomass suppliers in Member States. State Forest Management Organizations provide biomass to a multitude of forest-based value cycles and, thanks to their scale, stability, reliability and openness to cooperation they can catalyze the development of the bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR members employ leading forest experts with deep knowledge of forest management. In fact, the role of state foresters is to balance different demands through multifunctional forestry in response to local conditions and societal needs, by advancing sustainability and creating value in state forests. EUSTAFOR’s views are based on the management expertise, which comes from their lengthy experience with a full diversity of European forests.

NOTE: Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.

Dear Reader,

Autumn is a period when all of nature rushes to prepare for a winter sleep and many biological processes are slowing down. Similarly, forest relevant policy agendas somewhat follow the same path, aiming to finalize important political processes before the year-end break.

With this issue of our newsletter, we are pleased to offer you a number of interesting updates on the most important developments which have already taken, or are still taking, place both within the EU and at pan-European levels.

In the EU, the climate policy post-2020, notably the LULUCF Regulation, has been forwarded to the “Trilogue” with an aim to seek a final agreement, whereas the work on the bioenergy policy, including biomass sustainability, continues at full speed. In parallel, the debate on a bio-based circular economy is receiving growing attention, posing new demands on all actors involved, including those in forest research and science.

At the pan-European level a successful European Forest Week was celebrated by numerous governmental delegations and stakeholder organizations in Warsaw.

Thanks to its successful associate and traineeship programs, the EUSTAFOR office can also duly follow and fully contribute to other developments, such as those on environment and biodiversity, or enable the capacity building of young experts on EU-related topics.

Finally, EUSTAFOR is becoming ever more recognized as the competence center on state forestry matters, with its experts being invited to present at numerous international conferences or to contribute to public campaigns organized by our partners.

We hope you will enjoy reading this November edition of the eustafor.express. Please feel free to forward it within your organization!

Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

 

Anna from Sweden at internship in EUSTAFOR

My name is Anna Östberg. I am 18 years old and live in Jämtland, a region in northern Sweden. I am attending my last year in upper secondary school and, before graduating, my school offers its students the chance to do a freely chosen internship abroad.

As the daughter of two forest officers working in the Swedish forest sector, I have always spent a lot of time outdoors in the forests and mountains. I learned about EUSTAFOR through my father, who works for the Swedish State Forest company Sveaskog, and wanted to learn more about how the EU forest sector works.

In Brussels I have been researching information which best describes sustainable forest management and EUSTAFOR within the forest sector, at both EU and international levels. I am also reviewing the EU’s decision-making procedure. The result will be a series of PowerPoint slides that can be used when presenting EUSTAFOR to new audiences.

This internship has given me a chance to see how the EU in general and, more specifically, how an advocating organization works from the inside. It has shown me the importance of the forestry sector for the environment, the economy and society in general and allowed me to see how the things I have read about in school are actually put into practice.

I’m grateful to have had the chance to do this internship which also allowed me to meet a lot of new and amazing people from different European countries. The past 2 weeks at the European Forestry House, where EUSTAFOR has its offices, were full of laughter and learning and they ended too quickly.

Anna Östberg

Forestry contributes to Sustainable Development Goals. Highlights from global meeting Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World

A global meeting on Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World took place on 31 October and 1 November at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

EUSTAFOR participated and contributed by presenting the European forest perspective on wood mobilization, especially as regards challenges and opportunities for forestry, highlighting the need of Sustainable Forest Management for Climate Change Adaption, and the role of wood in making SFM economically viable and contributing to a low-carbon economy.

Members of the Steering Committee of the event were the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the World Bank (WB) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The meeting was enriched by an exhibition showcasing different stages of the wood value chain, from sustainable forest management to ready-made wood-based products, with cases from Finland, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania and Indonesia.

Participants discussed the societal benefits of sustainable wood value chains and the challenges related to unlocking their full potential to contribute to sustainable development. They agreed that in order to enhance local livelihoods there is a need to connect global, regional, and local value chains and to diversify forest products beyond wood to make effective use of “baskets of value chains.” Sustainable forest management was repeatedly cited as a significant component of sustainable landscape management. In FAO’s view, sustainable wood value chains and products are especially relevant to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action), and SDG15 (life on land).

An increasingly important role was given to the use of wood in long-lasting wood products, for example by using more wood in the construction sector or by fostering innovation and developing new bio-based products.

The conference was a good opportunity to learn more on global trends in relation to wood and forestry and to support FAO’s work on advocating the role of wood use and its multiple benefits for society at large.

Nevertheless, important differences emerged on the global scale, especially concerning the sustainability of wood sourcing and forest management. In this regard, European countries can provide examples of best practices as well as legislation and tools which have been put in place to ensure the sustainability of wood harvesting. For European State Forest Management Organizations it is important that certification schemes truly provide additional market benefits.

More information: http://www.fao.org/forestry/sustainable-wood/en/

 

EUSTAFOR contributes to the AEBIOM Statistical Report 2017

AEBIOM’s annual Statistical Report provides, since 2007, an in-depth overview of the bioenergy sector in the EU28 Member States. The report is a key reference on bioenergy for industry, decisionmakers, investors, academia and all bioenergy professionals. In addition to the full report, AEBIOM publishes a free download of the key findings. The chapter on biomass supply in the 2017 report includes a comment by EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, Piotr Borkowski.

To download the report, please click on the following link:http://www.aebiom.org/statistical-report-2017/statistical-report-2017-17-10-17/

 

Nature-based solutions for more sustainable and resilient societies

seminar addressing Nature-based Solutions for more sustainable and resilient societies was organized on 6 November 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was hosted by MEP Benedek Jávor (HU/Greens) in partnership with the EU Presidencies – Estonia (current) and Bulgaria and Austria (upcoming), the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) as well as the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN)

The main objective of the event was to highlight opportunities for innovating with nature, using cost-effective and flexible solutions (nature–based solutions – NBS) and for developing new partnerships for action in Europe. NBS, which are one of the EU policy topics, are designed to bring more nature and natural features and processes to cities, landscapes and seascapes. These innovative solutions also support economic growth, create jobs and enhance our well-being.

Main topics discussed:
Today, about three quarters of Europe’s population live in cities, making it important to include cities and city-dwellers in discussions about nature and Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) because the health and well-being of all citizens needs to be increased, just like the overall consumption of energy needs to be reduced in order to reduce global temperatures. Properly implemented nature-based solutions are a significant part of this. NBS need to be applied and treated like any other investment: we need to recognize their limits and they cannot be seen as a solution to all the problems our society faces.

Issues raised by speakers and audience:

There is a need for indicators to analyze NBS; how much do different NBS contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals? This would help in setting priorities.

The cost of NBS must be compared to what traditional solutions to the same problem would cost. NBS are not always the most expensive alternative! However, to put an economic value on nature, and therefore ecosystem services such as air quality is, as always, difficult. Solving this issue would make it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs to consider NBS as an alternative.

When these types of topics are discussed, there is always a recurring theme which is relevant to NBS: How can we reach outside the bubble of already interested parties?

Policy-wise, it is important to involve the local community from the start, so that EU money doesn’t need to be spent solving problems created by the EU, as this is neither cost efficient, nor good for the local economy.

What do the discussions about NBS mean for SFMOs?

As primary producers of sustainable materials and as forest managers, what can SFMOs add to this discussion? Building more green is a good thing – but wouldn’t it be even better if energy-positive office buildings were also built in wood? Harvesting is sometimes portrayed as ‘loss of nature’ but this clearly not always the case. SFMOs can, no doubt, greatly contribute to the further work on nature-based solutions, as they can supply both materials and their long experience of working close to nature.

More information about the Nature Based Solutions project can be found here.

Bridging research, policy and practice for sustainable forest management

The Sumforest conference “Bridging research, policy and practice for sustainable forest management” was held on 17/18 October at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona. It brought together 90 participants from 31 countries. It was the closing conference of the project.

Sumforest is an FP7 ERA-NET project with the goal to coordinate EU and national research activities in the forest area. It focuses on basic and applied research to inform policy decisions regarding multifunctional forestry and also addresses research issues spanning the whole value chain from forest management to product and service development. It is financed by the EU within the 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

The Programme of the Barcelona conference focused on three major topics:

-Risk resilient forest management – Adapting forest management regimes which incorporate risk assessment related to potential climate change impacts to inform policy decisions

-Comparative assessment of the sustainability performance of forest-based renewable and non-renewable raw material-based value chains to inform policy decisions

-Investigation, appraisal and evaluation of trade-offs related to the provision of forest ecosystem services to inform policy decisions

EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director was invited to deliver a keynote presentation on topic 1 at the session which focused on one of the main achievements of Sumforest: the successful implementation of a call for joint research proposals asking for solutions to three of the most pressing challenges in the forest sector: Resilience, Trade-offs and Competitiveness.

For all three issues outstanding scientific experts and main stakeholders from industry or policy gave their views on the problem followed by presentations of the research projects that were selected to tackle the specific challenges.

The conference also discussed possible follow ups of the Sumforest project and informed about some projects that have gone past theoretical considerations and are implemented in the Mediterranean area.

The Conference programme and all presentations are available under this link.

Renewable Energy Directive (recast): current status and next steps

After the vote of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on the Directive on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (RED recast) on 23 October 2017, EUSTAFOR provided comments through a joint press release (link), recognizing the efforts made by MEPs to set up a suitable system for the verification of sustainable forest biomass sourcing (Art. 26). This was achieved by rejecting the devastating “compromise” proposed by the Rapporteur Bas Eickhout. The “risk-based” approach that was supported in the vote takes into account existing legislation and systems on sustainability of forest management. At the same time, it is important that the European Parliament reconsider some elements introduced by the ENVI Report such as references to cascade use principles and restrictions on the feedstock proposed by the European Commission for advanced biofuels.

EUSTAFOR continues to contribute to the debate, advocating the priorities for the forestry sector in relation to the upcoming votes on the RED recast. In fact, on 28 November 2017, it is expected the vote of the Industry Committee (ITRE) will incorporate the ENVI Opinion voted on the 23 October 2017 in its report. The plenary vote on the ITRE Report is expected at the beginning of 2018.

Article on intergroup Event:

https://www.eustafor.eu/how-sustainability-of-forest-biomass-is-safeguarded-in-state-forests-key-talk-delivered-at-the-european-parliament/

 

Researchers, stakeholders and decision-makers met in Brussels to discuss the benefits of the forest bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director chaired a session on governance

The event “Forest-based bioeconomy – Benefits for climate, jobs and growth” was held on 8 November 2017 in Brussels and it was organized by the Natural Resource Institute of Finland (Luke) and the University of Eastern Finland in cooperation with the EU Offices of Helsinki and North-East Finland.

The event gathered together EU policymakers, researchers and stakeholders. It focused on the Bioeconomy Strategy, and its implications for Research and Innovation. In addition, four round table discussions were organized on key topics in relation to forest bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR’s Policy Advisor, Salvatore Martire, contributed to the ones in relation to climate change adaptation and to the multifunctionality of forests and its economic profitability. EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director, Piotr Borkowski, chaired a round table on the topic of “Responsive multi-actor governance in the sustainable forest-based bioeconomy”. That round table arrived the following conclusions and questions which were subsequently reported by Piotr Borkowski to the Plenary:

• Citizens and other stakeholders at the landscape level need to be involved in the decision-making and strategical planning of the forest-based bioeconomy

• There are different overlapping interests – Social Sciences and Humanities need to address these concerns

• There is a need to see how collaborative approaches in a multi-actor forest-based bioeconomy can be created

• New generations of society need new and modern approaches and solutions

• Multidisciplinary, multi-scalar and cross-sectoral approaches are needed in order to deal with conflicts of interest

The event was an excellent opportunity to exchange views among academia, policymakers, and stakeholders. It contributed towards defining how to further advance the European forest bioeconomy and what is needed or should be expected from policy and research.

More information:

http://errin.eu/events/seminar-forest-based-economy-benefits-climate-jobs-and-growth

 

Implementation of the Habitats Directive discussed in Brussels

The NADEG (Expert Group on the Birds and Habitats Directives) met on 7 November 2017 in Brussels, to discuss the new action plans for several threatened bird species, most notably the turtle dove, but also the revision of plans for the Prioritized Action Framework (PAF), for the Action Plan for People, Nature and the Economy, and of the guidance document or the implementation of the Habitats Directive, specially Article 6, that concerns the management of the Natura 2000 network.

The new PAF mostly emphasizes linking the concrete conservation actions to the condition of habitats. The PAF should not be seen as directly linked to individual management plans, but rather as a tool for the overview of the general management of a type of habitat. Comments provided from the floor included suggestions to include cost estimates of the actions in the PAF, in order to facilitate future negotiations with landowners and other stakeholders, and to prioritize different actions.

As to the revision of the guidance document for Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, the aim is to clarify and facilitate its implementation by, for example, including the case law of the European Court of Justice which provide interpretation of the provisions of the directive. The overall structure of the guidance document is to remain unchanged: only additions and clarifications will be made. Member State (MS) representatives largely welcomed this revision, although they asked for more time to give their feedback due to the necessity of performing proper consultations with relevant national authorities. Several MS pointed out that the case laws of the European Court are sometimes more confusing than the original text.

The Commission asked for MS and stakeholder feedback, as the Commission would discuss this topic at a meeting on 4 December. The proposed revisions will be sent in parallel to the Committee of the Regions, who will also be able to provide their comments before the end of November. The Commission aims to deliver the new guidance document by the end of this year.

Deadlines:

Any feedback on the updated PAF should be sent by 21 November, and no later than 30 November (in writing) on the guidance document for article 6 of the Habitats directive.

Other topics discussed included the continuing work taking place in several Member states to create platforms for cooperation within biogeographical regions. There are no planned meetings for forest-related biogeographical regions to be held in 2018.

There are, however, plans for setting up an EU platform to continue the work related to large carnivores.

A new Natura 2000 Viewer is accessible, including maps, where searches can be made for areas (name or area code), species, distribution of habitats/breeding grounds and so forth. The data is not controlled (anyone can add observations) but it is still a useful tool for forest management planning as well as SFMOs.

Think forest: Looking ahead to a circular bioeconomy

On 7 November 2017, the European Forest Institute (EFI) held a seminar, hosted by MEP Marijana Petir (EPP, Croatia) to discuss the topic of forest bioeconomy in the EU. The event coincided with the publication of an EFI report entitled “Towards a sustainable European forest-based bioeconomy.”

Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, opened the event, emphasizing that the need to change our society into a circular bioeconomy is an ever more urgent issue in light of the climate change.

In order to achieve a circular bioeconomy, there are several problems to tackle. Esko Aho, former Finnish Prime Minister, made a comparison to the digitalization and expansion of mobile phone technology in Scandinavia in the 1990s. The combination of deregulation, promoting healthy competition as well as innovation and smart regulation – for example regarding standardization of technologies used for mobile networks – proved to be a winning concept, at least to get the sector started. Perhaps bioeconomy is the next field where this concept could be applied? Several other speakers also emphasized the need for clear and coherent policies to facilitate investment and decisions. Additionally, we need to invest in sustainability: it does not appear all by itself!

The conclusions of the EFI report were several and to some extent echoed what has already been brought up in the discussion about the bioeconomy. Policy is first and foremost a tool to create a level playing field regarding social and environmental sustainability. In order to monitor sustainability, we need indicators that are fit for purpose. It is also important not to carry on as usual, but to aim to form cross-sectoral alliances as well to explore new sustainability markets, for example for ecosystem services. In the subsequent discussion with the audience, it was clarified that the EFI did not suggest new indicators, but rather to enlarge already existing indicators to better cover the entire sectors entire value chain, including products, something that is currently not accomplished by the SFM indicators alone, for example.

Another issue addressed by several speakers was how to reach outside the bioeconomy “bubble” – the network of foresters, businesses and NGOs who are already interested in these topics. The question of how to do this remained unanswered. However, political consensus might take too long to reach and, meanwhile, businesses and other interested parties are perhaps better suited for creating and implementing new concepts and solutions.

The problem is that much of this has been heard before. In other words, the real challenge does not seem to be to know what needs to be done, but rather to figure out how to do it.

What SFMOs should consider:

One suggestion from the presentations was that fossil fuels subsidies (including associated costs) currently amount to 6 % of the GDP in the EU. This needs to cease as soon as possible. This is of course highly relevant to primary producers of renewable materials, such as SFMOs.

On a more political note, it is of vital importance for everyone in the sphere of bioeconomy to remember that the 75 % of the EU’s inhabitants who today live in cities also need to be reached – even if SFMOs primarily work in rural areas. It is vital for SFMOs to devote time and energy to promoting their work to city-dwellers, who are the main consumers of forest products.

Read more: From Science to Policy 5: Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy

Las 2017 – 4th European Forest Week in Warsaw

The Fourth European Forest Week was held throughout Europe on 9-13 October 2017 under the theme of “Forests, our common good.” The main activities took place in Warsaw, Poland, in conjunction with Las 2017 Conference – a Joint 75th Session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industries and the FAO European Forestry Commission.

The European Forest Week has been celebrated since 2008. Every year it provides a unique opportunity to increase the forest sector’s visibility and to influence pan-European and global discussions related to forests.

In Warsaw, the representatives of countries from the UNECE region gathered to ensure that their forests are sustainably managed and used for the well-being of all. The official program included a high-level meeting chaired by the Polish Minister of Environment under the headline: “Forests, our common good – enhancing sustainable development in light of the Paris Agreement.” During the meeting ministers encouraged the use of forests and wood to support overall sustainable development.

After a week of intense discussions, countries set robust goals to enhance sustainable forest management throughout the region over the next years and adopted the Warsaw Integrated Program of Work (2018-2021).

The Warsaw Program covers over 43 % of the world’s forests, including almost 100 % of the world’s boreal forests and the vast majority of temperate ones. The program will be implemented in North America, Europe, Central Asia and the Russian Federation, which together account for 60 % of global industrial round wood production and related forest products.

The Warsaw Program covers four areas:

  1. Monitoring and reporting on the state of forests in the region;
  2. Policy tools to ensure that the sustainable management of forests in the region will contribute to international goals;
  3. Awareness-raising and dissemination of information on forests;
  4. Capacity-building and technical assistance, including through international cooperation, to countries in Eastern and South Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The Warsaw Program addresses issues such as forest landscape restoration and the Bonn Challenge, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, the contribution of forests to a green economy, forest communication strategies and national systems for forest monitoring and statistical reporting.

More information is available under this link.

 

EUSTAFOR supports the European Bioenergy Day on 21 November

EUSTAFOR is joining an awareness campaign, called the European Bioenergy Day. The campaign, to be launched by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), has as its main objective to promote bioenergy. This public awareness and media campaign will aim to underpin the 21 November 2017 as the symbolic day after which the EU’s fuel consumption for 2017 is based entirely on renewable bioenergy.

Starting on 21 November 2017, the campaign can be followed at http://www.europeanbioenergyday.eu and via Twitter @AEBIOM and also via the EUSTAFOR website.

“EUSTAFOR is joining the awareness campaign because it is important to highlight the role of bioenergy not only for climate change mitigation but also for forestry as it uses low-quality wood assortments,” says Executive Director Piotr Borkowski.

EUSTAFOR is engaging by providing the campaign with two case stories from Estonia and Finland, to be posted at the campaign’s website, and through social media. In the case of Estonia, wood is the largest alternative to non-renewables and the Estonian State Forest Management Centre (RMK) is a major supplier of energy wood in the country. The other case study comes from Lapland where Levi, Finland´s largest winter holiday resort, is heated with wood supplied by the state forest enterprise Metsähallitus.

“These two practical cases demonstrate the remarkable role European state forests can play in enabling a shift from fossil fuels to renewables, thereby contributing to the European Union’s efforts to meet its climate and energy targets,” says Mr. Borkowski.

Europe still relies on fossils

The European Bioenergy Day campaign makes use of original analogies to explain where the EU stands in the development of renewables and, in particular, bioenergy. By spreading the projection for Europe’s energy demand in 2017 across the calendar year, it makes clear that: Europe is still relying heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the first 299 days; Renewables follow with 66 days of clean energy; Bioenergy accounts for 41 days, starting on 21 November through to the end of the year.

The positive message, according to AEBIOM, is that since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Directive in 2008, this date has never come so early in the year. This encouraging outcome will be celebrated during the European Bioenergy Future Conference to take place in Brussels on 21-22 November 2017.

According to AEBIOM, the bioenergy sector should demonstrate an ambition to advance this date to October by 2030, hitting a renewable energy target of 35 % of the EU’s annual consumption, with bioenergy from biomass as a key driver.

 

Sustainable Forest Management in the face of climate change discussed at COP23-related event

An event entitled “Sustainable Forest Management and Climate Change” was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of France and took place at the COP23 in Bonn on 7 November 2017 in the French Pavilion. EUSTAFOR was invited to present the perspective of State Forest Management Organizations and an overview of their best practices.

The Paris Agreement recalled that forests are at the heart of solutions to climate change, while being closely dependent on it. At the event, the participants discussed which management models should be preferred and which trade-offs can be identified in relation to forest management and the dual need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Salvatore Martire spoke on behalf of EUSTAFOR in the panel of experts. His presentation focused on the role of SFM, its envisaged long-term planning in, among others, forest management plans and on the diversity of SFM practices across Europe. He stressed that SFM was needed to minimize risks and adapt forest ecosystems to changing climatic conditions through, inter alia, the selection of the most suitable species and varieties as well as appropriate adjustment of forestry operations. Dr. Martire also recalled the cost-effectiveness of forest management as a mitigation tool. Its actions provide a triple carbon benefit: forest growth (which impacts on the sink), carbon storage in wood products (stock), and the possibility to substitute for non-renewable materials and energy. The presentation was supported by examples of the best practices of EUSTAFOR members and stressed the need for more policy coherence, especially at EU level.

Session moderator Catherine Rivoal, French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry, highlighted that agriculture and forestry are priority areas for the Paris Agreement. Julie Marsaud, France Nature Environnment (FNE), stressed points of complexity as regards forestry while at the same time underscoring that forest management is necessary to reach Paris Agreement targets. Laura Nikinmaa, European Forest Institute (EFI), spoke about the EIP focus group on climate change adaptation to which EUSTAFOR members are also part of. Jean-François Dhôte, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), highlighted that excessive wood in aging forests, combined with additional climate stress, exposed forests to risks. He called for wood to be used rather than safeguarded in forests, as the former would positively contribute to climate change and the reduction of risks. Benoît Leguet, Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE) emphasized addressing climate emissions rather than focusing exclusively on carbon storage. Giacomo Grassi, from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), spoke of the trade-offs between maximizing carbon stocks and uptake. He noted that responses to the trade-off question will vary depending on policy priorities and encouraged the development of a portfolio of regional strategies. Karin Simonson, Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), highlighted the context of forests in Canada, which has the third largest amount of forests globally and has seen extensive forest fires in recent years. She gave an example of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change plan which includes a specific action regarding forests, including the growth of the bioeconomy.

Overall, the event was important to bring forestry into the spotlight of the climate negotiations and advocate the synergies on mitigation and adaptation which can be obtained from sustainable forest management.

More information (French):

http://agriculture.gouv.fr/forets-et-changement-climatique-quels-defis-relever

Launch of the Circular Economy website

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder platform (ECESP) has launched their new website. It is designed to present the activities of the ECESP stakeholders, and they are free to contribute to expanding its scope and enriching its content. We are looking forward to receiving your feedback and contributions. Access to the website: ECESP

The website hosts background information about the project, lists and contacts for the Coordination Group and the platform will also be a growing source of knowledge, news and events. It will also give access to a preliminary selection of 50 Good Practices submitted by stakeholders.

The European Forest Week 2017 – through Education to forest-based Bioeconomy

FOREST EUROPE launched a bioeconomy campaign during the European Forest Week held on 9-13 October 2017 under the theme of “Forests, our common good.” The main activities took place in Warsaw, Poland. FOREST EUROPE – Liaison Unit Bratislava – prepared a campaign “Bioeconomy and European Forest Week 2017 – a great chance to see the role of our forests in education for sustainable development.

The target group of the campaign is the broad public, especially younger generations in schools, as they represent the future decision makers. The campaign contains a pedagogical approach as well as model activities for pupils. These educational materials explore different ways of teaching and learning about the bioeconomy. The material uses and explains the principal steps in order to provide environmental education on sustainable development and on how to raise awareness about the bioeconomy.

During the forest week, an activity booklet was launched with background information describing the bioeconomy and explaining how it relates to forestry. The material is available in three languages (English, German and Russian):

The website of the campaign provides extensive information on the bioeconomy and forests, biodiversity and consumer issues and also offers a chance to vote on the “TOP forest product in my life”: http://foresteurope.org/bioeconomy-european-forest-week-2017/

For more information: FOREST EUROPE, Liaison Unit Bratislava, http://www.foresteurope.org