EU forests – new EU Framework for Forest Monitoring and Strategic Plans

EESC opinion: EU forests – new EU Framework for Forest Monitoring and Strategic Plans

Key points

The EESC:

  • cautiously welcomes the proposed forest monitoring framework, which should be treated as a statistical and not an oversight tool given that forest management is mostly a national responsibility;
  • recalls that some stakeholders do not agree with the idea of a regulation and show a preference for clear guidelines and for continuing current monitoring systems;
  • welcomes the long-term forest plan and recommends the following:
    • EU Member States which benefit from forests are urged to have a long-term forest plan;
    • social and economic aspects should be included in the structure of the forest plans, taking into account the multilateral values of forests and the social impact of forest communities;
    • in accordance with the partnership principle, civil society should be integrated in the development and – depending on the situation of Member States – implementation of the plans;
    • designing, implementing and monitoring the long-term forest plans should be financed using existing and new EU funds;
    • the plan should complement other forest and wood strategies;
    • there should be a clear match and synergy with the SDGs and the plan should contribute to them;
  • suggests that the role of the Standing Forestry Committee should be strengthened, including with regard to future work on forest monitoring; relevant civil society stakeholders should be part of it, taking into account the prominent role of forests for society;
  • proposes that the right balance between the subsidiarity principle, on the one hand, and respect for national and EU competencies, private property rights, ownership of data, on the other, should be taken into account, with the same level of importance given to economic, social and environmental forest data;
  • proposes that civil society should be involved in developing the EU forest monitoring framework and sufficient transparency should be ensured.