At the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which took place in June 2011 in Oslo, Norway, the Ministers responsible for forests in Europe made an historical decision: they signed a mandate for negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe.
Forests play an active role in the sustainable development and well-being of European society. Sustainably managed forests provide multiple benefits to society in the form of ecosystem services. They have the potential to contribute substantially to a green economy, generating jobs and income, particularly in rural areas, and can significantly contribute to the mitigation of climate change. These forests, however, face various challenges such as global warming and extreme weather events. The global economic crisis adds to these challenges, affecting forest industries and reducing investments in forest management.
These complex challenges cannot be addressed through measures in the forestry itself. To overcome these challenges and reinforce the implementation of sustainable forest management in Europe, it is necessary to strengthen the policy framework on forests in the pan-European region.
For these reasons, the Ministers responsible for forests in Europe decided to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with the mandate to develop a holistic legally binding framework agreement on forests in Europe. This historical decision started to shape up at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on The Protection on Forest in Europe (November 2007) in Warsaw, Poland, where a proposal was launched to explore the possibilities of a legally binding agreement on forest. Two working groups were set out. The first, which worked from November 2008 until October 2009, explored the potential added of value and options for the agreement. The second (January to December 2010) prepared several options for a decision on a possible legally binding agreement on Forests in Europe and produced a Non-Paper for such an agreement. The mandate for negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe was signed at the Sixth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which took place in June 2011 in Oslo
The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee started its work on the 27th of February 2012. However, the final consensus has still not been found. Three years later, at the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference held in Madrid, 21 October 2015, ministers responsible for forests in Europe acknowledged the work of INC and took note of its report, recognized the draft negotiating text as “a basis for potential further consideration” of LBA and agreed that at “an appropriate time and at latest by 2020” FOREST EUROPE will “explore possible ways to find common ground” on the LBA. A round-table meeting shall be called concerning all options for the procedural follow-up of the Madrid Extraordinary Ministerial Decision.
- Madrid Ministerial Decision – Recalling the Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating LBA
- Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe
- Website of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe