Ladies and Gentleman,
Sustainably managed forests have an enormous potential to provide a multitude of benefits for a sound environment, sustainable economic development and the quality of life of millions of people.
Because of all these benefits, forests are considered as an essential part of the solution to many global challenges, including in combating climate change. Forests are in the center of future actions and mechanisms, such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), which is in a core interest of Norway.
FAO analysis indicates that in 2007 and 2008, mainly because of high food prices, an additional 115 million people were pushed into chronic hunger. Raising food demands and food security create an outstanding challenge of today’s societies.
Increased demand for agricultural land is one of the most important drivers of deforestation and the source of significant greenhouse gas emissions.
We can not look at these challenges in isolation. Agriculture, food security, forests and sustanable forest management are closely interlinked.
This Session of the Forum provides an opportunity to address the links between forests and other sectors, including agriculture, and ensure that forests play their full part in contributing to the achievement of the agreed development goals.
Mr Chair, Distinguished Delegates,
In Europe, forests cover 44 % of the land area of the wider region, including the Russian Federation. This constitutes 25 % of the world’s forests.
The European region share the concept of sustainable forest management which have been incorporated into national and local laws and practice.
In Europe, as globally, multiple benefits from forests are threatened by global warming and expected extreme weather events.
This, and other challenges, need to be dealt with in a balanced and effective way, globally, regionally and locally.
Mr. Chair, Excellencies,
The year 2011 is declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Forests.
For Europe and Europe’s forests, the year 2011 will be of a double importance. 46 signatories will gather at the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, on 14-16 June 2011 in Oslo. Norway currently holds the chairmanship of the FOREST EUROPE process.
We expect that the European countries, will commit to work collectively in meeting challenges of today, and inter alia, focus on the role of forests in a green economy, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and combating illegal logging.
The Ministerial Conference will also address ways to strengthen the framework for cooperation on forests in Europe and the European ministers will consider launching negotiations on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe.
The Oslo Ministerial Conference will be a milestone in enhancing polices on sustainable forest management in Europe and aiming at contributing to the goals of sustainable development, including the four Global Objectives on Forests, and the objectives of the Rio Conventions.
Last, but not least, Mr Chair, let me summarise by highlighting a few issues:
1. Sustainable forest management aims to ensure delivery of multiple values from forests for people. Sustainable forest management offers a solid framework to address and integrate the role of forests in policies and strategies towards green, low-carbon economy.
2. Forests and agriculture are crucial for land use and the management of natural resources and at the same time to food security, improved livelihoods and poverty eradication.
3. Working together on these common challenges would significantly improve our efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
I thank you for your attention