Under the umbrella of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the ongoing 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, 124 countries have just signed a Declaration on Forests and Land Use, (from now on referred to as the Glasgow Declaration) as of 2 November 2021. The declaration sets out to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 and facilitate a sustainable land-use transition. Substantial progress has also been made with regards to the mobilisation of finances for forests. For instance, as part of issuing a Global Forest Finance Pledge, the EU, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, South Korea, and the United States of America have announced that they will provide 12 billion USD of public climate finance between 2021-2025. This financial pledge will aim to support action on restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires, and advancing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. It can also be noted that the national governments of 28 countries have committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa. These are industries that, in part, drive global deforestation (e.g., forest loss generated by the demand for agricultural land). In connection with the Glasgow Declaration, major financial companies have likewise made additional commitments to end investments in activities linked to deforestation.
Author: Filip Aggestam
New study on policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy out now
The European Green Deal is being promoted as a cornerstone for European policy over the next five years, setting out an ambitious package of measures that aim to facilitate a sustainable green transition in the EU. One of the many actions highlighted under the Green Deal is the third EU Forest Strategy, a non-legally binding (or soft) policy instrument for which the European Commission will prepare a proposal in 2021.
The ongoing policy discussion in Brussels is set against the backdrop of a new EU Biodiversity Strategy, an EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, the 2050 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the recently adopted Adaptation Strategy. All these initiatives (and more) are being pushed as components of the Green Deal. However, whether and how these initiatives and strategies will influence the new EU Forest Strategy is still an unknown.
We have set out to investigate how forests have been framed in the Green Deal and to cast light on its potential role in the development of the third EU Forest Strategy – and our paper The ‘Art of the “Green” Deal – Policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy’ summarizing our study results has just been published in Forest Policy and Economics.
The first EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 1998 to provide general guidelines for an EU forest policy designed to coordinate other EU forest-relevant policies. The implementation of the first strategy was done under the auspices of the EU Forest Action Plan, covering the period from 2007 to 2011. The Forest Action Plan was a tool that facilitated voluntary cooperation between EU Member States (no enforcement capabilities), with some coordinating actions being implemented by the European Commission.
The paper “Downloading Europe: A Regional Comparison in the Uptake of the EU Forest Action Plan”, published in the journal Sustainability, returns to the EU Forest Action Plan to provide further insight into how it translated into an EU Member State context. Most articles concerned with the analysis of forest-relevant policies in the EU focus on analyzing EU decision-making impacts on a national level, or vice versa, but not how Member States embrace EU strategies from a comparative perspective. This paper addresses this empirical gap and provides insight into whether Europeanization effects are comparable, irrespective of whether EU Member States are deciding upon and implementing a legally binding or non-legally binding EU policy instrument.
Integrated forest management (IFM) can help reconcile critical trade-offs between goals in forest management, such as nature conservation and biomass production. The challenge of IFM is dealing with these trade-offs at the level of practical forest management, such as striving for compromises between biomass extraction and habitat retention. With this background in mind, the paper “Can nature conservation and wood production be reconciled in managed forests? A review of driving factors for integrated forest management in Europe”, which is published in the Journal of Environmental Management, reviews some of the driving factors that influence the integration of nature conservation into forest management.
Informed decision-making requires information from both past experiences and knowledge about the future. This also applies to forest-based sector – especially when considering challenges like climate change mitigation or biodiversity conservation. While the future can be difficult to predict, one way to analyse it is to use scenario-planning methods. However, the use of scenario is also a process of priority-setting, more specifically, scenarios are a reflection of sectoral, public and other development priorities. Having this in mind, the paper Deconstructing a complex future: Scenario development and implications for the forest-based sector which is published in Forest Policy and Economics reviews how the use of scenarios may affect EU forest-related policy.