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The Net Zero Industrial act and forestry

During its 4thmeeting, chaired by Esko Aho, the independent tripartite high level group on Forestry & Biomaterials continued its role as a laboratory for EU policy innovation. This role was given to it by the Competitiveness Council Presidency in 2011. It aimed at more ‘inclusive innovation’ through ‘thinking outside the box’. Members are a diverse group of experts from the public, private, and academic sector, brainstorming together according to the Socratic dialogue method, in order to reach operable ideas.

  • In the context of the Net Zero Industrial Act, the forestry sector is not receiving enough attention. Forestry and biomaterials are part of the solution to tackle climate change and contribute to a circular bio economy, but this is not sufficiently recognized in the EU’s economic policy design.

  • Forests provide a variety of important ecosystem services and play an indispensable multifunctional role in climate change mitigation, environmental protection, and sustainable production, in the context of the circular bio economy.

  • It is therefore important to embrace the complexity of forestry in the economic visions of the EU and to fully enable its contribution to improve current economic, environmental, and social conditions.

  • Adapting a holistic approach to policy change led by EU legislative instruments is increasingly important due to forests’ global contribution to biodiversity, the public health benefits, and climate change mitigation. Conservation is but one aspect.

  • Coordination and coherence in the EU’s Forest policies are lacking which may lead to negative impact on Europe’s forestry but also on multiple stakeholders globally.

  • Various policies and regulations, such as the EU’s Deforestation Regulation may have adverse effects on some stakeholders in third countries due to negative extraterritoriality effects, raising moral dilemmas (e.g., ‘ecological imperialism’), problems relating to their legitimacy.

  • Forests should therefore be seen in a global way and not through Europe’s keyhole approach by only looking at European interests. The EU geopolitical interests are not served by the negative extraterritorial implications. A Eurocentric view should be replaced by one including also the realities in Africa, South America, and Asia.

REPORT High Levelg Group Forestry & Biomaterials Meeting 4 April 2023
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