The Slovenia Times

Slovenia welcomes decisions on new strategy for forests


Brussels - The EU agriculture ministers adopted in Brussels on Monday decisions on a new EU strategy for forests until 2030, stressing the importance of forests in combating climate change and biodiversity loss. Slovenia's Jože Podgoršek labelled the decisions as a great achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency.

The ministers agreed that forests should make a greater contribution to the European Green Deal and the global goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda until 2030.

They emphasised that forests and the forestry sector had a key role to play in the EU's transition to a sustainable, green, climate-neutral and competitive circular economy.

The decisions also point to the importance of forests in the fight against biodiversity loss and tackling climate change, Slovenian Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said at yesterday's press conference after the session.

The ministers also emphasised the need to find balance between the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable forest management, and the importance of respecting and preserving forest diversity and forest management practices.

"Today's decisions reflect the need for all stakeholders to work together and take a balanced approach in order to address the challenges faced by our forests, and protect communities whose survival depends on forest resources," Podgoršek said.

He added that the ministers had also noted the need to take forest owners into account in forest management and planning.

According to Podgoršek, the decisions welcome incentives to increase the sustainability of wood production, and point out that new innovative solutions must be found, such as certification of products from the sustainable use of forests.

As part of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council session, the ministers also discussed the situation in agricultural markets.

The Covid-19 pandemic has left consequences in agriculture, Podgoršek summarised the discussion, pointing out that there were large hikes in the prices of fertilisers, pesticides and energy. The situation in pig farming is particularly problematic.

The ministers agreed that national programs alone are not sufficient for addressing these problems, and called on the European Commission to find appropriate measures, especially for the pork sector.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said tools should be used as part of the common agricultural policy, and that member states could also help farmers under state aid rules.

The Slovenian EU presidency also presented the main recommendations from the EU Pollinator Week from end-September, noting the roles of pollinators, such as pest control, maintaining soil and water quality and contributing to landscape features.

Slovenia strives for the member states to include in their common agricultural policy strategic plans measures aimed at preserving the diversity and number of pollinators, the Slovenian Agriculture Ministry said.


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