Despite the planet’s cascading crises being more visible than ever in 2022 with droughts, floods and forest fires ravaging huge swathes of the planet, and Russia's terrible invasion of Ukraine, followed by an energy crisis that strongly hit European citizens, Fern tried to look beyond this dizzying carousel.
Forests are now near the centre of European Union (EU) and other international policy-making forums, which offer cause for optimism.
Increasing numbers of EU decision-makers now understand how deeply Member States’ policies on trade, energy, climate, development, consumption and much else, affect the world’s forests, and the lives of those who rely on them.
A vivid example came in December 2022, when the EU finally agreed on the text of its long-awaited Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR).
The Regulation – which Fern played a key role in making a reality – was the fruit of years of hard work and intense political debate, despite behind the scenes lobbying by industry and several Member States to try to weaken it.
Progress was made in other areas too: the European Parliament voted to end subsidies for burning wood taken directly from forests under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED); there was increasing understanding of the link between carbon dioxide and biodiversity in forests; and limits to offsetting were introduced under the Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation... But these steps forward are laden with heavy caveats too.
But time to breathe is an essential part of campaigning as it allows you to think about what your main objectives are and how to achieve them. We therefore made space to come together as a full team to develop our 2023-2027 long-term strategy.
Learn more about our new long-term strategy and what happened in 2022 in our new annual report.