First Working Group on the future direction of FOREST EUROPE
On 12-13 October the first Working Group to discuss the future direction of FOREST EUROPE was held in Bratislava. 21 signatory countries and 7 observer organisations took part of the meeting.

CEPF was represented at the meeting by Secretary General Emma Berglund. Discussions were held on the FOREST EUROPE achievements and added value, the structures, procedures and work modalities as well as the interplay with other actors in the Pan-European forest policy arena.

In the discussion it was clear that a main added-value of the FOREST EUROPE process is the development and contribution to Sustainable Forest Management and its Criteria and Indicators, tools and guidelines, as well as the open inclusion of stakeholders in the transparent and participatory dialogue. Examples of areas for improvement discussed were to increase the reflection of major political trend and developments in decisions and to strengthen the cooperation with other bodies.

Ahead of the meeting, CEPF together with 7 other observer organisations representing forest owners, managers and industries issued a joint statement (see below), showing the broad agreement and unity from the stakeholders on the added-value of the FOREST EUROPE process and the importance of strengthening it.

The statement highlights the opportunity to now consider how the FOREST EUROPE process can reflect new challenges and become more relevant, for example in regards to climate change, bio- and circular economy.

The next step of the Working Group is to develop a questionnaire on the issues discussed in the meeting, for all signatory countries and observers to answer. A final report with recommendations for the future direction of FOREST EUROPE is expected by the end of 2017.

For more information, please refer to the FOREST EUROPE Work Programme for 2016-2020.