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25.6.2010 puhe Euroopan neuvostossa

 

FORESTS: THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET
25.6.2010, Preliminary Draft Resolution

Honourable Chair,

First of all, I want to thank the rapporteur, Mr. Timchenko for this important report.

Forests are essential for all the people of the World. They contribute to our existence on this planet since they loose oxygen to atmosphere. So no wonder they are called the ”lungs of our planet”. And for me as a Finn, forests have even more essential meaning. Finland is the ”woodest” land of Europe. 78 percent of our land is forestry land.  So the importance of the forests for Finnish economy is obvious.

It is said in the report that forests have important environmental, social, cultural and recreational role. It is also mentioned that they are important for the economy in some countries. At this point, I want to stress this point by saying that countries like Finland are strongly dependent on forests and forest industry. Even if I would say that Finland’s economy wouldn’t exist without forests, I wouldn’t be exaggerating. Forests not only have economic meaning; they are also used for citizens' recreational service.

The report raises several important and interesting points. It is true that forests safeguard the environment. They are home for flora and fauna. But the question follows: what can we do to safe forests? The illegal logging of forests especially in developing countries is alarming. The international conventions in force must be strengthened. They must be better enforced. The offenders must be punished. But to look at the problem other way: if over half of the timber is produce illegally who is buying it? Who is the guilty one, the poor ones who do it or the richer ones who buy it from them? The accusative finger is often pointed to the wrong direction. Everyone has a reason to look himself in the mirror.

In theory, the situation in Europe should be satisfying with forests. The surface covered by forests is increasing, thanks to scientific approach adopted to reforestation. At the same time it’s worrying because the forests planted are said to be monocultures with little biodiversity and alien species. This fact is regretful but does not concern for example Finland, so it shouldn't be generalised.


The report stresses the need for creating a committee inside UN that would be responsible for example for the development, adoption and enforcement of legislation to preserve and protect forests. The idea is well advised but I think before creating a new committee we should strengthen the already existing ones like FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). The report also mentions the need for actions in means of preventing forest fires. It requires criminal sanctions for pyromaniacs for example. It is important to pay attention to this point. I also want to add that FAO has already taken steps regarding this problem and is the leading agency handling this matter.

I support the report and the subjects discussed in it. But as such it is not adequate, it needs correctives. I also think that the already existing organizations for protecting forests should be strengthened before creating new ones. Only the strong and functional organizations can protect the forests better. Thank you.