European 2020 targets for forests

The 6th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe was convened on 14-16 June 2011 in Oslo, Norway. At the Conference, ministers responsible for forests in Europe adopted European 2020 Targets for the protection and sustainable management of forests. Moreover, ministers took a historical decision and launched negotiations on a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. The decisions represented a major European contribution to the International Year of Forests 2011

The health and sustainability of Europe’s forests play an essential role in solving challenges like climate change, biodiversity protection and fresh water. Their vitality is also crucial to foster a green economy both in Europe and globally. Protection and sustainable management of Europe’s forests require a stable and efficient platform for coherent policy development and implementation. Therefore, European ministers responsible for forests and the European Union made an historical decision at the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference in Oslo and launched negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe.

As part of the Oslo Ministerial Decision: European Forests 2020, ministers agreed on Goals of European Forests and European 2020 Targets for forests. This decision comprises strategic goals, measurable targets and priority actions at national and international level to enhance sustainable forest management. It also prepares the ground for increased recognition of the role of forests and their sustainable management in a future, sustainable, low carbon economy. The decisions taken by the ministers further enhance Europe’s concrete contribution to the International Year of Forests 2011, and highlight the pivotal role of forests for human well-being.

At the Oslo Ministerial Conference, Spain took over the chairmanship of FOREST EUROPE from Norway. The conference in Oslo was attended by ministers and high-level representatives from 42 FOREST EUROPE countries and the European Union. 6 observer countries from outside Europe and 29 international organisations including environmental and social NGOs, forest owners’ associations, the forest industry and intergovernmental organisations participated as observers.

A non-exhaustive list of the pan-European activities achieved for the implementation of the ministerial commitments in the period between the Warsaw and the Oslo Ministerial Conference is presented below.