Speech/statement | Date: 2015-05-14 | Ministry of Agriculture and Food
State Secretary Hanne Maren Blåfjelldal, Norway
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sustainable forest management is key to sustainable development.
Deforestation, forest degradation and unsustainable management practices continues at an alarming rate. We have to change this, and manage our forest resources sustainably in order to limit global warming, reduce the loss of biodiversity and enable economic and social development.
Forests have been important for the economic and social development in Norway. Forests are one of our most important renewable resources. It still is an important source for income and livelihood in rural areas - and an important part of the national economy. We care about our forests.
Norway has been an active supporter of the United Nations Forum on Forests since it was established. The Forum has been successful in providing a better understanding of sustainable forest management. The forum is properly placed in the UN system, but has a potential for becoming more efficient and more relevant. We would also benefit from making better use of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
It is important that we look outside the forest community and make the international arrangement a more effective tool for enhancing cooperation and coordination between different actors working on forest-related issues.
To achieve this, there is a need for improvement of the International Arrangement on Forest. The forum session needs to be more effective, more flexible and open to address emerging issues.
Norway sees the future International Arrangement on Forest as a tool for integrating sustainable forest management into the work in other forest-related foras and sectors of importance for development, such as climate change and biodiversity, as well as in agriculture policies, food security and energy.
A common understanding of what sustainable forest management is will be an important basis for our further efforts to protect the forest resources and use its potential for further economic and social development. This must take into account different conditions in different regions.
Sustainable forest management has proved to be an effective strategy to mitigate climate change. Reducing deforestation and forest degradation is the key, but forest landscape restoration is a topic that deserve increased attention, including at future sessions of this forum.
Norway will continue to be a major contributor to REDD + and other efforts to mitigate climate change. We regard this not only as an effort to combat climate change, but also a contribution to promote sustainable forest management, secure important ecosystem services and support economic and social development.
Important achievements have been made within and outside the current International Arrangement on Forest during the past 15 years. The future arrangement needs to take into account the positive forest-related developments outside this forum. We need to join forces and approach the future challenges in close cooperation with others. Only through a joint effort will we be able to fulfil our ambitions to secure – and increase - the future contributions from sustainably managed forests to economic and social development.
Thank you for your attention