– Check against delivery –
Mister Chairman, Under Secretary General, President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.
The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement
1. Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States congratulate you on being elected as Chairman of the tenth session of UNFF and express their conviction that the two weeks of work ahead of us will benefit from your leadership. The EU and its Member States thank the Government of Turkey for its generous offer to host the tenth session of UNFF in the historic city of Istanbul. We recognise the importance that Turkey attaches to forests and sustainable development and also its commitment and contribution to effective and inclusive multilateralism, including in forestry, which the EU and its Member States fully support.
2. We also thank the UNFF Bureau and Secretariat and the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, for their preparatory work for this important session of UNFF on forests and economic development. Indeed, based on an innovative preparatory process at different levels, we now have in front of us outcomes of expert meetings, quality background documentation and a rich programme of events over the coming weeks. These constitute a solid basis for our deliberations over the next two weeks.
3. Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States wish to underscore the importance of the main theme of UNFF10 which is “Forests and Economic Development”. The contribution that the forestry sector makes to national GDP and the employment and income benefits that accrue for people and organisations engaged in forest-based enterprises is significant and is increasingly recognised. Forests and sustainable forest management can make a significant contribution to the transition to a green economy in support of sustainable development and poverty eradication. This contribution goes beyond the traditional cash value of forest based industries.
4. Forest products and forest ecosystem services provide informal, non-cash benefits which play a central role in the livelihoods of many men and women living in rural areas. Forests and trees outside of forests contribute to low-income households and they provide wider societal benefits in the form of inter alia; access to clean water, protection from natural disasters, carbon storage and biodiversity conservation.
5. The EU and its Member States would like to stress that in order to allow governments to better manage the challenges, opportunities and trade-offs that arise from the growing and competing demand for a range of goods and services, there is a strong need to maintain efforts towards better forest governance, including through the adoption of integrated landscape/land use approaches, better reflection of the multiple benefits of forests and wide stakeholder participation. These competing demands include raw materials, food, land, bio-energy and water.
6. The EU and its Member States see the forest instrument as a key tool in order to assist governments to coordinate national and international efforts to this effect. The EU welcomes the opportunity at this session to discuss the implementation of this Instrument and to share experiences on progress made and best practices in its implementation.
7. Mr Chairman, in 2015 the Forum will review the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests. That same year, we expect to agree on several other international processes with far reaching implications on forests such as the Rio+20 follow up, the post-2015 Development Agenda, the anticipated new climate change agreement etc. We look forward to discussing and considering a clear roadmap that will ensure that the next session of the Forum can make an informed decision in accordance with its mandate. The review process and its timetable should be fully consistent and coherent with the other major global processes and should seek to benefit from the synergies which clearly exist with them.
8. The EU and its Member States would also like to reiterate the continued need to strengthen international cooperation and action on forests at all levels, inter alia by taking advantage of synergies and facilitating policy coherence, active cooperation and coordination with other forest-related conventions, agreements and processes. The EU and its Member States see this as a core function of the Forum and also of the CPF. We welcome the on-going collaboration between the UNFF secretariat and the other secretariats of the Rio Conventions and with international organizations such as the FAO, the Global Environmental Facility and the ITTO.
9. We welcome the initiatives for and the outcomes from the various intersessional activities which have taken place in support of UNFF over recent years. We hope that, subject to the availability of resources, this will continue in the post UNFF10 intersessional period; as such initiatives remain important.
10. On forest financing, the EU and its Member States would like to highlight the successful work carried out by the Facilitative Process and we would like to see its work continuing for the next intersessional period. We would also like to acknowledge the important work already undertaken especially through the AHEG meetings and we would like to further thank all CPF organizations for the support that they have provided to this process. The work of the AHEG, which it is worth noting was called for by this Forum by consensus, has demonstrated that there is no easy, single solution to the existing problems of forest financing. Gaps and barriers continue to impact on the effective mobilisation of resources particularly from domestic sources and from the private sector. The EU and its Member States consider that financing for sustainable forest management should continue to come from a range of complementary sources; public and private, domestic and foreign, bilateral and multilateral. We note that the outcome of the work of the AHEG does not provide us with sufficient, conclusive evidence that the establishment of new forest-specific financing mechanisms, such as a global forest fund, can at this stage help us in addressing the multiple challenges of financing for SFM. The EU and its Member States look forward to a constructive discussion on means of implementation, aiming at a meaningful and balanced decision which is acceptable to all Parties.
11. Mr. Chairman in conclusion, let me assure you that the EU and its Member States look forward to contributing constructively to the deliberations of this session.