EC Progress Report on the EU Forest Strategy

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EESC section opinion: EC Progress Report on the EU Forest Strategy

Key points

The EESC:

  • calls for an updated EU Forest Strategy after 2020, which could feasibly look ahead to 2050, to ensure coherent implementation of well-recognised political commitments such as the UN Strategic Plan for Forests, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. The importance of forests, forestry and forest-based industries in meeting these goals should be recognised across all sectors and lead to optimised cross-sectoral cooperation;
  • underlines the importance of the multifunctional role of forests and notes that climate change is a threat to ecosystem services. A solid mix of financial instruments is crucial to ensuring continued investment in modern technology as well as in climate and environmental measures to strengthen the multifunctional role of forests. When it comes to private forest holdings, it is crucial to ensure that property rights are respected and decisions related to forests are made in partnership with forest owners;
  • recommends a mapping of the current status of the workforce and a forecasting of labour needs in the European forest-based sector. Decent jobs and labour conditions are a prerequisite to attract young people to the forest-based sector;
  • stresses the importance of reducing global deforestation by strengthening sustainable forest management, for example through a pan-European agreement, mobilising locally produced biomass in Europe and supporting the transition towards more sustainable consumer patterns.