The European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) got an overview of the views of the Government of Estonia on the new European Union forest strategy for 2030 at its sitting today, and decided to support the positions in accordance with the opinion of the Environment Committee of the Riigikogu, with one amendment.
Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Siim Kallas said that the topic of forestry was vital and the communication of the Commission for the new forest strategy was a very meaningful document that contained many issues where it was necessary to find a balance. “After hearing the positions and discussing them, the European Union Affairs Committee decided to support the positions of the Government, amending the first of them so that the climate and biodiversity objectives outlined in the strategy would be given more weight,” Kallas explained.
Deputy Chair of the European Union Affairs Committee Riina Sikkut thinks that changes in forestry are needed to ensure biodiversity, and Estonia’s current approach to forestry cannot be fitted within the framework of the strategy. “Bringing the growth of welfare to the whole Europe is the underlying precondition for the European Commission’s green transition package. It means additional jobs, innovation and economic growth, but smaller environmental footprint. Estonia has a competition advantage over those countries that do not have forests, because we already have a good instrument for removal of greenhouse gases,” Sikkut underlined. “Countries that are poor in forests have more serious concerns with reducing emissions: they have yet to start with large-scale planting of forests.”
The new forest strategy of the EU for 2030 aims to ensure healthy and resilient forests that increase biodiversity, contribute to achieving climate targets, improve the livelihoods of people and support circular economy and bioeconomy.
It was confirmed at the sitting that the EU forest strategy is in line with the EU biodiversity strategy. According to the Roadmap annexed to the strategy, at least 3 billion new trees have to be planted by 2030. Estonia’s positions set out that the foresting and tree-planting activities should be first of all implemented on damaged lands, like industrial or mining areas. Speaking of using wood of low value for energy production, Estonia’s positions point out that it should take place in accordance with the biomass sustainability criteria. Estonia’s positions also underline the importance of subsidiarity, so that each country could develop its forestry by taking into account the local circumstances. It was also mentioned at the sitting that the new version of the Estonian Forestry Development Plan would be ready this month.
The sitting of the Environment Committee was attended by Head of the Forest Department Meelis Seedre and Adviser of the Forest Department Rauno Reinberg from the Ministry of the Environment.
The Council of the European Union will adopt conclusions on the communication for forest strategy at the sitting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on Monday. The strategy will form a basis for preparing draft legislation, which in its turn will be submitted to the Riigikogu for discussion.
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