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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

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