Sumario: May 17, 2005: STATEMENT AT THE 5TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS Linkages between forests and the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration BY DR. FRANK WOLTER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE LUXEMBOURG FORESTRY ADMINISTRATION, ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (New York)
Luxembourg has the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, the candidate countries Turkey and Croatia*, the countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, align themselves with this declaration.
1. The European Union reasserts its commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international community in September 2000. At the same time, we share the concerns about the slow progress made towards meeting some of these Goals.
2. The World Summit on Sustainable Development considered sustainable forest management (SFM) both as a goal of sustainable development and a critical means by which to eradicate poverty, significantly reduce deforestation, halt forest biodiversity loss and land and resource degradation and improve security and access to safe drinking water and affordable energy. While the contribution of forests to the goal related to environmental sustainability is generally recognized, SFM contributes directly and indirectly to other MDGs, notably goal 1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Furthermore, forests have an important role to play in the achievement of other internationally agreed goals and targets, such as those related to health, and water and energy supply. The EU welcomes the Secretary General's report, which stresses the contribution of forests to mitigating climate change, and the relationship between SFM and sustainable consumption and production.
3. As such, the forest sector clearly has the potential to make a significant contribution to the MDGs and we acknowledge the active role taken by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests through the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action to advance in this respect.
4. However, the difficulties encountered in capturing the economic value of environmental services provided by forests to the benefit of society, as well as a lack of understanding of the potential contribution of forests to poverty reduction, results in an insufficient allocation of national resources and development assistance for sustainable forest management.
5. To reverse this trend the EU believes that it is essential to link Sustainable Forest Management to the MDG review process. We need to demonstrate and explore all facets of the contribution of forests to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular poverty reduction, health, environmental sustainability and development in general, since most of the challenges addressed in the Millennium Declaration are linked to these key issues.
6. Integrating forest related activities in National Poverty Reduction Strategies, as well as aligning national forest programmes with such strategies will help ensure that the potential contribution of forests to poverty alleviation is realized. Similarly, the principles of sustainable forest management need to be reflected in National Sustainable Development Strategies, recognizing and reinforcing the economic, environmental and social contribution of forests to sustainable development.
7. The EU welcome CPF efforts to assist countries to integrate forests into National Poverty reduction Strategies, and to highlight the potential contribution of forests to poverty reduction and sustainable development. We believe that CPF members could further enhance the impact of this important work by developing relevant guidance and tools on forests and poverty reduction for forestry practitioners, as well as for non-foresters. In this respect, we welcome the work in progress on guidelines for enhancing the contribution of forestry to poverty alleviation and food security and look forward to its publication.
8. The European Union believes that it is crucial to agree on setting a limited number of clear objectives and quantifiable forest-related targets to raise political commitment to SFM worldwide. Such goals and targets should be directly linked to existing MDG targets and we see an important role for CPF members in assisting countries to develop such targets.
9. Poverty and environmental threats are multi-dimensional problems requiring holistic solutions that are sustainable over time. The EU believes that forestry-based strategies contributing to reduce poverty can only succeed if they directly address the needs of the poor, promote their engagement, provide them with direct benefits, reduce social exclusion and promote good governance. In this regard, I would like to highlight two concrete activities undertaken by the European Union to strengthen governance for forests.
10. The first of these activities is through support to national forest programme processes provided by the EU. National forest programmes have an important role to play in promulgating inclusive forest sector policies, which contribute to overall development goals. As such, EU donors have worked, in close collaboration with FAO, to establish the National Forest Programme Facility, which is designed to offer assistance to developing countries that wish to embark on processes of forest sector policy reform.
11. The second activity is the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which seeks to support strengthened forest governance in developing countries through demand and supply side measures.
12. We also note the need for strong co-ordination across different sectors, so that efforts to meet the MDGs pursued in these different sectors become mutually reinforcing. We would thus encourage CPF members to strengthen their interdepartmental working groups and intersectoral co-operation, so that this reinforcing effect can be captured within CPF's diverse actions.
13. Finally, the EU considers that, in order to promote the contribution of forests within the context of the global development agenda, governments as well as CPF members should deliver persuasive forest-related contributions to the Millennium Review Summit, which will take place in September 2005. To this end we would like to propose, Mr Chairman, that you prepare a Ministerial Declaration the text of which might be negotiated by the Working Party in charge of preparing the high-level segment.
The declaration should give a loud and clear message focusing on the future. In particular, it should address the potential contribution of forests and the forestry sector to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and should incorporate the Resolution on the future International Arrangement on Forests.
Mr Chairman, the EU believes that the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration next week would be an excellent way to ensure that forests receive the political attention that they deserve at the September summit. We cannot allow ourselves to miss the opportunity we have been presented with to do this.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilsation and Association Process.