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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Statement on behalf of the EU during the general debate at the 5th session of the UN Forum on Forests

Date of Speech : 16-05-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Dr. Frank Wolter, Deputy Director of the Luxembourg forestry administration

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. Chairman,

During this fifth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Luxembourg has the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, the candidate countries Turkey and Croatia* , the countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro align themselves with this declaration.

The EU thanks the UNFF Bureau and Secretariat and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests member institutions and organisations for their valuable work in the preparations for the fifth session of the Forum. The reports of the Secretary General and other background documents provide a solid basis for our discussions over the coming two weeks.

Mr. Chairman

We are at a turning point in global forest policy. The review of the international arrangement on forests, and the discussions on the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework for all types of forest provide us with an opportunity which we must seize. I wish to emphasise that within the EU there is a real will for change. Continuing the status quo is not an option. We need to reverse the current trend of deforestation and forest degradation.

Our deliberations will be enriched by the inter-sessional work which has taken place since UNFF4. This work has provided us with a range of valuable inputs and has gone some way to increase our understanding of the issues we must address here at UNFF5.

The EU was heartened by the open and positive atmosphere in both the Ad-Hoc Expert Group on PARAM, which met here in New York in September 2004, and the meeting of the Country-led Initiative in support of UNFF5, held in Guadalajara in January this year. We detected a high level of support for a significant change of the future IAF and for the setting of clear overarching objectives and specific related targets for the future international arrangement on forests.

We understand that during this meeting the Multi Stakeholder Dialogue will be integrated in the agenda items rather than treated separately. We look forward to the increased interaction that this mode of operation will bring.

The EU looks forward in particular to the High-level Ministerial Segment and policy dialogue with heads of international organizations next week. The dialogue and Ministerial Declaration offer an opportunity to highlight the contribution of forests to key global issues of concern to ECOSOC and to the global community. Most of us in this forum are aware of this contribution, but we need to communicate clearly and demonstrate in practice the key role of forests in sustainable development.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the European Union looks forward to a positive dialogue during this fifth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests leading to a step-change in the effectiveness of the future international arrangement on forests. Mr Chairman, let us be creative and constructive, for the sake of the world’s forests, for the sake of all those communities whose jobs and livelihoods depend on forests and for the sake of future generations.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilsation and Association Process.

This page was last modified on : 17-05-2005

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