Foresters to press for the adoption of important documents and to share their experience2013-09-11
Today an informal meeting of EU directors of forests started at the "Merchants’ House" Vilnius, attended by chiefs of EU member states’ forestry institutions.
‘Forests have been the foundation of our country’s environment, economy, culture and traditions for a long time. They remain some of our main natural resources,’ Vice-Minister of Environment Linas Jonauskas said when greeting participants of the meeting. ‘To preserve forests and ensure their rational use, sustainable forestry is acceptable to all and is also a prevailing principle of forestry policy which we must stick to without deviation,’ the Vice-Minister emphasized.
During the meeting forestry issues which are important to the European Union (EU) will be discussed, including the currently most relevant issue of the negotiation on the legally binding agreement regarding European forests (European Forest Convention). Negotiations regarding this issue have been taking place since 2011. The last of the four planned stages of the negotiations, which took place in Warsaw last summer, will continue on 7-8 November in Geneva. In the continued negotiation session, the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, along with the European Commission, will negotiate on behalf of the European Union and its member states. Lithuania is responsible for the preparation of a common negotiating position of the European Union and its member states.
At the meeting of directors of forests in Vilnius, the necessity to faster approve the new EU forestry strategy will be discussed, since the strategy currently in use was approved in 1998 and is outdated now. Most EU member states emphasize the importance of this document for the forestry sector, and the necessity to approve it without delay. In Vilnius, the directors will be invited to discuss the potential coordinated actions that would speed up the process, and which would allow having this approved document by the end of this year or at least before the European Parliament election 2014. Currently, the strategy project is under discussion at the European Commission, and it is credible that the Communication regarding the European Union’s forestry strategy will be published during the Lithuanian Presidency. At that time Lithuania will be responsible for the further consideration of this document and its approval at the Council of the European Union.
The meeting participants will share their ideas on how the new European Parliament and Council regulation on support for rural development will be useful in seeking sustainable forestry, and will discuss how another important regulation, i.e. the regulation on timber that sets the duties of economic operators providing timber and timber production for the market, will be implemented in the European Union.
This informal meeting of EU forest directors is a wonderful opportunity to present Lithuanian forests, to introduce meeting participants to Lithuanian forestry policy and its development goals, and to share their experience. The meeting participants in Vilnius will be presented Lithuanian forests and their specificity, and on the second day of the meeting an excursion to Panevėžys Forest Enterprise will be organized where the directors of forests can see examples of multifunctional Lithuanian forestry. During the excursion, issues of the preservation of biological diversity in forests, climate change and the impact of natural disasters on forests, as well as issues of forest restoration and recreational and other forestry functions will be discussed.
The meeting, which is intended to discuss forestry-related issues relevant to the European Union and presenting Lithuania’s experience in managing forests, is attended by the chiefs of forestry institutions of over twenty EU member states, representatives of the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), and the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR).
Public information division