Joint Statement of Forestry Ministers: Comprehensive sustainability of forest management requires that local conditions are taken into account
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah participated in the meeting of the For Forest Group composed of the forest ministers of the most forested EU countries in Austria on 25–26 September. At the meeting, the ministers responsible for forestry of Austria, Slovenia, Sweden and Finland signed a joint statement on the EU forest policy.
In their statement the ministers stress the opportunities offered by a sustainable bioeconomy and the need to take all dimensions of sustainability and local conditions into account as the key conditions of sustainability.
Forest-based products are renewable, resource efficient, versatile and essential for the growing sustainable bioeconomy. Sustainable forest management and wood use create jobs in rural areas and prepare the ground for innovation and investment. They are an indispensable part of the energy transition. The statement also points out that the long-term use of wood as a construction material is not only of growing economic importance, but also contributes to achieving climate targets.
The European Green Deal 2019 has brought a substantial shift in EU policy. A large number of strategies and binding legal acts have a direct impact on forestry and the timber sector.
EU’s subsidiarity principle should be upheld
The statement strongly highlights the importance of the EU’s subsidiarity principle, i.e. that decisions should always be taken as locally as possible. The concrete design of sustainable forest management should be adapted to national, regional and local conditions.
As the competence concerning forest policy has not been transferred to the EU level, the responsibility for policy making lies with the Member States and their forest laws and programmes, taking into account forest related EU policies. All forest related policy-making is guided by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality laid down in the EU Treaties.
The statement stresses that the EU level should take action on forest related issues only after these have been adequately addressed at the national level. Legislation affecting forests should not go beyond what is necessary. Binding rules at the EU level should be strictly limited to what is necessary to achieve EU objectives.
While in Austria, the ministers also visited the country’s largest forestry trade fair AustroFoma, which is held every four years.
- Tapio Luoma-aho, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 4727040
- Erno Järvinen, Head of Forests and Bioenergy Unit, tel. +358 29 516 2150