Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,
I am honored to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 28 Member States.
The EU and it MSs welcome and highlight the first-ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (‘Strategic Plan’) and the first Quadrennial Programme of Work of the UNFF for the period 2017-2020 (‘Programme of Work’) adopted at the Special Session of the Forum held on 20 January 2017 in New York [placeholder for ECOSOC decision] and we affirm our full support for the Strategic Plan.
We would like to emphasise once more the vital role that the world’s forests and their sustainable management play in tackling current global challenges and to note with great concern that deforestation and forest degradation in the world still remain a substantial problem and that forests are under pressure.
To that end the Strategic Plan is a major achievement and an important opportunity to further enhance coherence, coordination, and synergies, and to enhance the implementation of global forest-related issues at international, regional, and national level, as well as within the EU.
We emphasise that the Strategic Plan needs to be implemented in such a way as to achieve a more integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, taking into account its cross-cutting issues, including human rights, climate change, gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and ending poverty and combating inequalities;
We stress the importance of promoting synergies and mutually supportive implementation of the UNSPF Global Forest Goals and targets and the policies and programmes of the different UN bodies, organisations and specialised agencies, the Rio conventions and other forest-related intergovernmental organisations and processes, within the scope of their mandates; and we commit to contribute to these efforts;
We call for good and strengthened cooperation amongst all actors, specifically with CPF and amongst its members, with major groups and other stakeholders, in order to contribute actively to the Strategic Plan’s mission and to achieve its vision;
The EU and its MS will make an active contribution at UNFF 12 while individual Member States will further contribute by sharing their own experiences.
We emphasise the novelty of UNFF12 and the technical nature of the session. We should take advantage of this opportunity to make this session more interactive and attract more participants, including from the private sector. We encourage all actors to participate actively in the discussions, so that UNFF12 can prepare a timely and substantive input for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development on the themes and review cycle for 2017-2018.
We stress that monitoring, assessment and reporting are crucial in demonstrating progress and sharing experiences in the implementation of the Strategic Plan; at the same time, however, we recognise the need to avoid an additional reporting burden and duplication of efforts in this regard.
Thank you for your attention.