FORESTRY: EOS - Update on the ongoing EP activities & EU Commission Statement
At the end of February, the works related to the “Draft Report on the European Forest Strategy” and the “Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests” were published on the EP website and sent out for discussion to the competent EU Parliament involved in the these dossiers.
Originally the deadline for amendments was scheduled on 25 March and then postponed (on the 23 March) to the 7 April due to the slow down of the EP the work caused by the COVID-19 contingencies measures.
At the beginning of March, EOS invited the Members of the EU Parliament to put forward policies allowing to create the conditions for resilient forests and to enhance the development of the wood value chain. In particular, EOS considered of utmost importance:
- the creation of an EU forest resource monitoring system aiming at providing real-time information on the European forest resources and aiming at forecasting the impact of natural disturbances on wood availability;
- a uniform implementation of the EUTR across Europe and for concrete requirement avoiding arbitrary interpretation of the EUTR due diligence system;
- the creation of a mechanism that rewards “CO2 saving” when revising the relevant climate and energy legislation (substitution effects of wood-based products as a tool for climate change mitigation). Acknowledging that carbon storage in wood products can help decrease the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
The adoption of the Report in the AGRI EP Committee has now been scheduled on 26 May 2020.
Additionally, in the answer given by the Commissioner, Mr Sinkevi?ius (Environment, Oceans and Fisheries) on behalf of the European Commission, stated:
1. As the Commission underlined in its Communication on the European Green Deal, forest eco-systems are under increasing pressure, as a result of climate change and other pressures. The quality and quantity of EU forested area need to improve, for the EU to reach climate neutrality and a healthy environment. Sustainable forest management, re- and afforestation and the restoration of degraded forests increase absorption of CO2 while improving the resilience of forests and promoting the circular bio-economy. The rural development component of the Common Agricultural Policy can provide support to reach those aims.
The Commission is committed to tackling environmental-related challenges, and will present a Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (EOS comment: the Biodiversity Strategy was expected to be published at the end of March but its publication is postponed by some weeks), including forest eco-systems. Building on this, the Commission will prepare a new EU Forest Strategy, which will have as its key objectives effective afforestation, and forest preservation and restoration in Europe.
2. Since the adoption in 2018 of its report on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy , the Commission has progressed on the set-up of the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE), which was launched on 5 February 2020. With the Communication of 23 July 2019 “Stepping up EU-Action to protect the world’s forests”, the Commission also paved the way to assessing the environmental impact on EU consumption of products and raw materials likely to contribute to deforestation and forest degradation outside the EU.
In line with the Union’s contribution under the Paris Agreement, sustainable forest management should contribute to climate change mitigation. The Commission is therefore following up the implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2018/841, which entails, inter alia, the setting of national forest reference levels for the period 2021 to 2025.
(To be noted, the LULUCF Expert Group is expected to meet next 4th may 2020)
EU Parliament documents:
25 February: Draft Report on the European Forest Strategy - the way forward. Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Rapporteur: Petri Sarvamaa
19 February: Draft Opinion on the European Forest Strategy - The Way Forward of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Rapporteur: Mauri Pekkarinen
19 February Draft Opinion on the European Forest Strategy - The Way Forward of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Rapporteur for opinion: Jessica Polfjärd
19 February Draft Opinion on stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Rapporteur: Mauri Pekkarinen