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Press Release
Octavie Modert at the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Forests

Date of release : 14-03-2005

Policy area : Agriculture and Fisheries Agriculture and Fisheries

Octavie Modert, Secretary of State for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development represented the European Union at the Ministerial Meeting on Forests of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome on 14 March.

The Ministers discussed international cooperation on forest fire management as well as the international commitment to sustainable forest management.

In a joint statement, the ministers, concerned about deforestation and forest degradation, committed themselves to further improve sustainable forest management and intersectorial cooperation in their respective countries and pledged to improve coordination of forest policies with economic, environmental and social policies to improve the contribution to sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Furthermore, an international strategy serving as a framework for cooperation on wildfire management should be developed.

Ministers called upon FAO to help countries in building capacity for sustainable forest management and to assist them in strengthening their legislation, policies, institutions and programmes.

In the same statement, the meeting asked FAO to provide inputs to the intergovernmental discussion to take place at the 5th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Octavie Modert said that the “important question at hand was “how to reinforce international commitment to the implementation of the principles of sustainable forest management. Implementing sustainable forest management remains foremost a matter of national policies, priority setting and coordination among economic, social and environmental policies" she added.

“At the global level, the EU believes that the setting of clear objectives, associated with measurable targets is an important step in focusing the attention of the global political agenda on forest-related issues and strengthening political commitment to this end. Linking these objectives and targets with the global development agenda spelled out in the Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation reinforces the pertinence of such a process. Meanwhile, effective mechanisms for technology transfer and access to financial resources need to be put in place," she explained.

Turning to the topic of fire management, she emphasized that fire is a traditional land management tool and indeed an essential natural process in many ecosystems, but that the challenge today was to develop informed policy guidance recognizing this traditional role of fires while reducing the incidence of uncontrolled burning and its negative impact on human livelihoods and the global climate.

“The need for international cooperation in this field goes without saying. As such the EU welcomes ongoing efforts in strengthening international cooperation on forest fires through the creation of bilateral assistance agreements among countries worldwide and engages in effective international cooperation on forest fire," she stated.

This page was last modified on : 14-03-2005

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