Republic of Cyprus Emblem
Department of Forests

International Dialogue on Forests

International dialogue on forests

The European Union participates actively in the international dialogue on forests both at global level (United Nations Forum on Forest - UNFF), as well as at regional level (FOREST EUROPE - Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe - MCPFE).


After 15 years of negotiations on forests, at the seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-7), held in 2007 a
Non Legally Binding Instrument (NLBI) on SFM was agreed for all types of forests. During the same UNFF session, the Multi Year Program of Work (MYPOW) was also agreed with a time horizon until 2015.

The purpose of the NLBI is:
(a) To strengthen political commitment and action at all levels for effective implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests and to achieve the shared global objectives on forests,
(b) To promote the role of forests in achieving the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability,
(c) To provide a framework for national action and international cooperation.

The Eighth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (
UNFF-8) held in 2009, had as its main agenda item: "Forests in a changing environment - Instruments for the implementation of sustainable forest management".

The Ninth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-9) was held in New York from January 24 until February 4, 2011 and had as its main agenda item: "Forests for People, livelihoods and poverty eradication."

The Tenth Session of UN Forum on Forests (
UNFF-10) was held in Turkey in 2013, having as its main agenda item: "Forests and Economic Development".

The Eleventh Session of UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-11) took place in New York, from 4 – 15 May 2015, and its main topic on the agenda was “Forests: progress, challenges and the way forward for the international arrangement on forests”. The UNFF-11:
§ reviewed the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) and considered all future options, as stated by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its resolution 2006/49 (paragraph 32),
§ reviewed the progress towards the achievement of the global objectives on forests and the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, and
§ reviewed the contribution of forests and the international arrangement on forests, including the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, to the internationally agreed development goals.

    The UNFF-11 concluded on the adoption of a milestone Resolution on the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) beyond 2015. UNFF members decided to strengthen the International Arrangement on Forests and extend it to 2030, with specific reference to its implementation and financing, fully servicing and in compliance with the global development goals beyond 2015. They also decided on the objectives of the IAF, its components and its partners, and on the strengthening of its Secretariat.

    UNFF-11 also agreed on a new format for its future sessions. From 2016, UNFF session will take place on an annual basis, but based on a two-year thematic cycle. The first year’s session (even-number years) will focus on issues regarding implementation and technical advice, while the second’s year session (odd-number years) will focus on policy issues, development and decision-making.

    In January 2017 a Special Session of UNFF in New York, adopted a Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 which provides an ambitious vision for global forests in 2030. The Plan was adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council on 20 April 2017, and was subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly on 27 April 2017.

    The Strategic Plan features a set of six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets to be reached by 2030, which are voluntary and universal. It includes a target to increase forest area by 3% worldwide by 2030, signifying an increase of 120 million hectares, an area over twice the size of France. It builds on the vision of the 2030 Agenda and recognizes that real change requires decisive, collective action, within and beyond the UN System.

    The Twelfth Session of UNFF (UNFF-12) was held in May 2017, in New York. It was the first session held under the new format of sessions and focused on technical issues. It adopted an Omnibus Resolution covering issues like Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR), Mechanisms of Implementation (MOI), enhancing cooperation, coordination and engagement on forest-related issues and contribution to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

    The Thirteen Session of UNFF (UNFF-13) was held in May 2018, in New York. It was the second session held under the new format, and the first with an emphasis on political dialogue and development. The Session focused on the contribution of forest sector to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UNFF's contribution to the High-Level Political Forum of 2018. It also examined the course of implementation of the UN Strategic Plan on Forests. Finally, adopting an Omnibus Resolution (UNFF13) summarizing all the conclusions of the Summit.


    The European Union is an active member of
    FOREST EUROPE (Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe – MCPFE) initiative and has signed all Declarations and Resolutions of the seven Conferences that have taken place since 1990, when the process was launch:

    - Strasburg 1990
    - Helsinki 1993
    - Lisbon 1998
    - Vienna 2003
    - Warsaw 2007
    - Oslo 2011
    - Madrid 2015

      The FOREST EUROPE is a high-level political initiative for co-operation and it is based on a chain of Ministerial Conferences and follow-up experts’ meetings. It addresses common opportunities and threats related to forests and forestry and promotes sustainable management of forests in Europe.

      Following the Ministerial Conference in Warsaw (2007), a process was launched for exploring the possibility of a legally binding agreement for all types of forests across Europe.

      Oslo Decisions

      At the 6th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, FOREST EUROPE, held from June 14-16, 2011, in Oslo, Norway, the responsible Ministers for Forests in Europe have adopted the following two packages of Decisions (Decisions of Oslo) on the future of forests in Europe:

      (a) "
      Oslo Ministerial Decision: European Forests 2020" and
      (b) "Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe".

      The first package of Decisions covers the voluntary course of the initiative FOREST EUROPE, as followed until now. The basic provisions concern the adoption of a shared vision, common goals and objectives for Europe's forests by 2020 and the mission of FOREST EUROPE after Oslo Conference. It includes national and pan-European voluntary actions in order to achieve the agreed goals and objectives.

      With the second package of Decisions, the mandate to officially initiate negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement (
      LBA) for forests in Europe was given by the responsible Ministers for forests, and to this end, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to facilitate the negotiations was established, based on specific internal procedural rules and with specific timetables for commencement and completion of negotiations (not later than 31/12/2011 and before 30/6/2013, respectively).

      Based on Oslo Mandate, negotiations took place in four Sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), two of which were conducted in two phases (INC3 and INC4). By the end of the 4th Session (Resumed INC4), on the 8th of November 2013, it was evident that the negotiations had reached a deadlock. Since then, several efforts have been practiced, mainly by Spain and Austria, in order to break the deadlock but without any prominent success.

      The results of the negotiations were examined by the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference, as it is provided by the Oslo Ministerial Mandate, held in Madrid on the 21st October, 2015. Ministers responsible for forests in Europe took note of the progress made in the negotiations and agreed that by 2020, at the latest, they will consider possible ways of reaching a consensus on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe, on the basis of the negotiating text included in the report of the last session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee.

      Decisions of the 7th Ministerial Conference (Madrid)

      At the Seventh Ministerial Conference held in Madrid, Spain, from 20-21 October 2015, the Ministers responsible for forests in Europe adopted unanimously the following four texts:

      § A General Ministerial Declaration entitled "25 Years Together, Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in Europe" with an annex to the Revised Pan-European Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management,
      § Two (2) new Resolutions on the following issues: § A Ministerial Decision entitled "The future direction of FOREST EUROPE".
        During the FOREST EUROPE Expert Level Meeting, in November 2017, a Round Table Meeting was finalized for September 2018 for an exchange of views on the implementation of Madrid Extraordinary Ministerial Conference Decision on the Legally Binding Agreement on forests. Depending on the outcome of the meeting, member states will decide for the next steps.

        At EU level, there is always an internal coordination, with consensus on generally common positions in the negotiation process and it is expected that a similar attitude will be maintained during the period up to 2020, when the decisions will be finalized

        User Satisfaction Survey

        Complaints Submission Form