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EU Forest Strategy and EU Forest Action Plan

There is no specific forest policy in the EU, and consequently policies affecting forests are found under a range of topics such as environment, rural development, industry, trade, etc. The EU Forestry Strategy adopted in 1998, acted as a response to concerns about the lack of coherence and coordination between national forest policies and different forest related EU policies. Though the non-legally binding Forestry Strategy represents the first significant attempt to create an EU-wide framework for forests, its development and implementation have left much to be desired.

A review of the implementation of the Forestry Strategy in 2005 revealed that there was a need to strengthen coherence between EU policies, as well as coordination between the European Commission and Member States. It also suggested a more coherent and pro-active approach to governing the EU’s forest resources. This led to the tabling and adoption in 2006 of the EU Forest Action Plan for the period 2007-2011. The document is however, fraught with internal contradictions. The vagueness of the concept of multifunctionality for example, raises serious questions about how the potential conflicts between environmental, social and economic components are to be resolved. In 2009, the mid-term evaluation of the EU Forest Action Plan concluded that its activities have been ineffective on most counts.

FERN comments and briefing notes on the Forestry Strategy and the EU Forest Action Plan

EU documents



Most recent publications

The most crucial challenges facing Europe’s forests

This short briefing outlines BirdLife, European Environmental Bureau and FERN recommendations for the Parliament’s own initiative report on the EU Forest Strategy.

EU Forest Strategy won’t save European Forests

NGOs have criticised the EU Forestry Strategy launched today as “neither a clear strategy, nor an action plan.” It has been hoped that the Strategy would meet the need for coordinated action to protect EU forests, but what has been delivered shows the markings of its chequered past. The document has been the source of much internal wrangling by different EU Directorate Generals, and for months it seemed unlikely it would ever see the light of day. 

Press release: NGOs reject proposed text of the legally binding agreement on forests

This Press Release from a broad coalition of European NGOs has strongly criticised the text for a Pan-European Forest Convention discussed last week by European Government Representatives. Members of the 30-strong coalition, such as FERN, Friends of the Earth Europe, Bird Life Europe, Greenpeace, ClientEarth and the German Nature Conservation League, believe the draft text is biased towards wood production without improving the overall state of forest ecosystems in Europe. They claim the text is too general to be meaningful, and too restrictive with regard to public participation.

NGO Statement to Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe

Statement from Friedrich Wulf of Pro Natura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland on behalf of FoE Eu­rope, its members and a large number of European Environmental NGOs and NGO networks: Bird Life Europe, FERN, IFAW, CEEweb, PlantLife, BatLife Europe, Client Earth, Greenpeace, Wetlands International, Robin Wood, ARA, Quercus, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Pro Regenwald, Friends of the Siberian Forests, Rainforest Foundation Norway,  TERRA, Global Witness and others. It expresses the NGOs' disappointment with the text of the convention.

PDF iconNGO Opening statement INC4.pdf98.39 KB

NGO concerns about proposed Forest Convention

An international negotiation committee, created by Forest Europe has for the past two years, negotiated a text for a new Forest Convention. The convention would cover the 46 countries on the European continent, including Russia and could be open to ratification by countries beyond Europe. The final text was nearly agreed on 14 June 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. European NGOs from countries across Europe have written this statement to raise their great concerns about both the content and the process.

NGOs' concerns with the legally binding agreement on forests in Europe

Released before the third session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe negotiations; this statement on behalf of 34 NGOs outlines key concerns that Europe’s NGO have in regards to the legally binding agreement on forests in Europe.

PDF iconNGO_letter_LBA_INC3_Jan_2013.pdf258.77 KB