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Minister of State McEntee tells International Ministerial Conference "Our Forests must be managed in a sustainable way"

Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Forestry, attended the 6th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in Oslo, Norway. Together with the Ministers responsible for forests in the 46 FOREST EUROPE signatory countries and the European Union, the conference discussed and agreed political options for protecting forests and securing their vital goods and services.

At this year's Conference Ministers agreed to adopt the proposal 'European Forests 2020', which presents a new vision for Forests in the pan European region.  Minister McEntee told delegates "If we are to continue to reap the immense benefits and to release the enormous potential benefits that a healthy and vibrant forest sector can bring to our society, our forests must be managed in a sustainable way".

Minister McEntee went on to say "Sustainable forest management can be further improved and more widely applied if this conference fully embraces the ambitious vision set out in the Ministerial Decision, European Forests 2020. I believe that this vision, where all our forests contribute effectively to sustainable development, where they support a green economy and address the many environmental challenges that beset this region, can and will become reality".

The Ministerial conference also decided to take further international action consisting of the elaboration of a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe and to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with the mandate to develop a legally binding agreement on forests.  Minister McEntee described this decision as a watershed in the successful history of the, heretofore voluntary, Forest Europe process and one that has the potential to significantly increase and improve the application and the standard of sustainable forest management throughout the region and beyond.

This high-level event follows previous Ministerial sessions, which took place in Strasbourg in 1990, Helsinki in 1993, Lisbon in 1998, Vienna in 2003 and Warsaw in 2007.  The 6th MCPFE was organised under the joint chairmanship of Spain and Norway, and was hosted by the Norwegian Minister for Agriculture and Food.

Date Released: 14 June 2011