The European Parliament have said that recognition of the role of sustainable forestry by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will contribute to its common objectives, including developing rural areas, while contributing to climate action.
Following the event: ‘Which role for forests in the future Common Agricultural Policy?’ which was held in the European Parliament on 10 July, it has been argued that sustainable forestry is essential to ensure that the role of forests is well-framed in the context of assessing progresses towards the CAP’s nine specific objectives and that, consequently, forestry measures are ensured in all Member States.
During the opening of the event MEP Herbert Dorfmann highlighted the importance of the CAP implementing the EU Forest Strategy, whilst expressing his disappointment for the budgetary cuts which are particularly significant for the rural development fund and relevant for sustainable forestry.
The importance of sustainable forestry
The event was hosted by Dorfmann and MEP Jytte Guteland within the framework of the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) and the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR).
Peter Wehrheim, Member of the Cabinet of Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, presented the Commission’s proposal and objectives and highlighted that the EU Forest Strategy should serve as the basis for the CAP regarding forestry.
He stressed the importance of forests for job creation in rural areas, while ensuring the delivery of ecosystem services to the society at large, and their important role towards creating a low-carbon and climate friendly economy.
He also touched upon governance aspects and the subsidiarity principle for forest policies.
What else was discussed at the event?
During the event members of the parliament discussed the CAP with different focus areas, these included:
- Ingwald Gschwandtl, Director at the Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism of Austria, presented multifunctional forest management in Austria and the strong relationship between forests and people, especially in mountainous areas
- Octavian Anghel, Deputy CEO of the Romanian State Forests ROMSILVA, presented the challenges of public forest holders in Romania, and the need to strengthen forests against risks by supporting specific forestry measures
- Arpo Kullerkupp, Estonian Private Forest Union, stressed that the Rural Development fund supports a wide range of forestry measures that are beneficial for the development of vibrant rural areas and the protection of the environment, and
- Jabier Ruiz, WWF, suggested considering the possibility to allow forestry to also benefit from funding from the first pillar.
Guteland closed the event by offering her perception that managed forests are “green gold” and can be used not only for recreational purposes but also to boost the viability of rural areas, for mitigating climate change, improving biodiversity and social inclusion.
In conclusion, it is crucial that sustainable forest management stays at the very core of the CAP in each Member State to allow forests to contribute towards the priorities of the European Union.