The Agriculture and Fisheries Council on the new EU Forest Strategy

At a meeting to be held on 15 November in Brussels, EU agriculture and fisheries ministers will focus on approving Council conclusions on the EU Forest Strategy.

Forests are the dominant landscape feature of the EU, covering around 40% of its territory and affecting the quality of life of its citizens. They also provide unique habitats for animals and plants, produce oxygen, contribute to clean air, provide a source of renewable energy and bring other benefits to human health. Forests also protect us from natural hazards, provide many jobs and are an important place for recreation. Given the importance of forests, it is crucial to ensure their sustainable and multifunctional management and seek a balance between the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. It is only through such an approach to forests that we can make the greatest contribution to achieving the many objectives of the European Green Deal.

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Jože Podgoršek, said: “Forests play an important role in achieving national, European and global objectives, and it is necessary to ensure a balance between the economic, social and ecological functions of forests. Sustainable, close-to-nature and multifunctional forest management contributes to sinks, a source of material for wood products that replace fossil materials and fuels, enhances biodiversity protection, creates green jobs and contributes to the development of the bio-economy and rural areas, as wood is an important source of income for farms and forest owners. Forestry and the entire forestry-wood chain, together with tourism, contribute to the preservation and development of rural areas and are one of the cornerstones of a green, circular and digital economy. In achieving the objectives, it is important to ensure the involvement of stakeholders. National processes such as the Forest Dialogue, which we are successfully implementing in Slovenia, can be an example of good practice.”

The ministers will also take note of the current situation on agricultural markets, the contingency plan to ensure the EU’s food supply and food security, the report on EU Pollinator Week (from 27 to 30 September 2021), the Farm to Fork conference (from 14 to 15 October 2021), and the state of play in the agricultural negotiations in the run-up to the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which is to take place in Geneva, Switzerland (from 30 November to 3 December 2021).  Also on the agenda will be a report from Spain on the consequences of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands and a report from Slovakia on the management of large carnivores and the possibility of harmonising monitoring methods for large carnivores in EU countries.

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