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    Recognising the multiple roles of forests

    At the Third Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, held in Lisbon in June 1998, socio-economic aspects of sustainable forest management were given considerable emphasis. In this context, the conference particularly focused on the relationship and interaction between forest and society. Additionally, important outcomes of the Helsinki follow-up were confirmed. Under the chairmanship of Portugal and Austria, 36 countries and the European Community signed the two Lisbon Resolutions.

    Furthermore, a co-operation with the Ministerial Process “Environment for Europe” was established by endorsing the joint pan-European “Work Programme on the Conservation and Enhancement of Biological and Landscape Diversity in Forest Ecosystems 1997-2000” (Biodiversity Work Programme).

    At the Lisbon Conference the ministers also decided to develop a work programme in order to put into action their commitments made up to now. This MCPFE Work Programme was adopted in October 1999. It includes more than 40 actions addressing common pan-European issues. These actions range from forest biodiversity and climate change to rural development and the specific needs of Central and Eastern European Countries. The MCPFE Work Programme also addresses important forest policy instruments including national forest programmes as well as criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

    The Work Programme is not only implemented by MCPFE countries and the Liaison Unit, but also by a broad range of international organisations and institutions working in the field of forestry. This reflects the outstanding characteristic of the MCPFE, which is to enable and enhance effective co-operation with regard to forests and forestry.