Paper abstract bibtex
For nearly 18 years, European countries have been successfully developing cooperation in the field of forest policy towards sustainable forest management (SFM). Four Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe held in Strasbourg (1990), Helsinki (1993), Lisbon (1998), Vienna (2003) resulted in agreed commitments at a political level with regard to sustainable management of forests. At the same time they have highly contributed to building up a range of joint activities of actors engaged, despite a variety of opinions and interests they represent. The Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (5th MCPFE) took place on 5-7 November, 2007 in Warsaw, Poland. The Conference Sessions provided a forum for dynamic discussions and sharing views on political challenges concerning European forests among the ministers, delegates from the MCPFE observer organisations and countries as well as representatives of research community. The Warsaw Summit encompassed presentation of most recent information on the state of Europe's forests as well as illustration of achievements of European countries in progressing towards SFM. A set of actions to assure that Europe's forests continue to be managed sustainably and provide benefits to the best of their potential was endorsed. The Warsaw Conference was ceremonially opened by the President of Poland and the participants were cordially welcomed to Warsaw. Linkages between forests and climate change as well as reconciliation of two important issues: economic development and protection of natural environment were emphasized in the opening address by the President. The Conference Agenda consisted of five Sessions, starting with the Thematic Session: ” Europe's Forests - state of art and challenges ahead.” Two MCPFE Reports: ” State of Europe's Forests 2007” and ” Implementation of the MCPFE Commitments 2003-2007” were presented. The key statements by the European Community (EC), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) significantly enriched the Conference debates on SFM. The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) comprised presentation of the statements by six Major Groups followed by an open discussion with ministers and delegates. A number of issues for further political attention were identifi ed during the dialogue. The statements by European countries and the European Community as well as by observer organisations and countries were included in the succeeding Conference Sessions. The outcomes of the Conference are embraced the Ministerial Declaration and the two Warsaw Resolutions that relate to the most signifi cant environmental problems, such as climate change, growing demand for energy from renewable sources and threats to availability and quality of water resources. The Conference Documents were signed by 40 MCPFE signatory countries at the Signing Ceremony. Additionally, two Ministerial Statements on forest fires in South Europe and the initiative on the Pan-European Forest Week in 2008 were adopted by acclamation. As a final point, a change in the MCPFE General Coordinating Committee (GCC) was announced at the Conference forum. The Minister of Environment of Poland invited Germany and Slovak Republic to take the place of Austria in the GCC and passed the MCPFE presidency to Norway. The Conference delegates participated in the Field Session in the Kozienicka Forest that offered a great opportunity to demonstrate and discuss protection of biological diversity, promotion of forest education, improvement in ecological forest management and the provision of regional development in a perspective of the Conference host country - Poland. The Warsaw Summit, whose leitmotif was "Forests for quality of life" brought the forests back to public debates both in the social and economic dimensions, whilst keeping the commitments resulting from the need to protect European forests being regional common heritage.