On 6 March 2024, the European Commission (DG Environment) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine organized EU-Ukraine Phoenix Dialogue on forests.

This was one of a series of technical dialogues on environmental policy and legislation (focused PHOENIX Dialogues) initiated in 2023. The PHOENIX (Project for a Holistic Orientation towards Environmental New Infrastructure in Ukrainian cities) initiative was launched and presented by the President von der Leyen to the Ukrainian Government at the College-to-Government meeting on 2 February 2023 which took place back-to-back with the EU-Ukraine summit. Focused dialogues are one of four pillars of Phoenix.

The welcoming words from the side of DG ENV: Martijn Quinn, Deputy Head of Unit ENV F2 (Regional and Bilateral Environmental Cooperation); Marco Onida, ENV D1 (Land use & Management); and from the side of Ukraine: Yevhenii Fedorenko, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine for European Integration; Viktor Smal, Head of the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine.

The meeting agenda included three presentation made by DG ENV representatives and one made by Head of SFRA.

In the presentation “Forest and Forestry in the EU (status and challenges, relevance for Ukraine regarding environmental protection and the EU Forest Strategy for 2030”, Marco Onida (ENV D1)  highlighted rapid  development of EU forest policy and legislation on forestry in last years.

Also, some attention was paid for the development of forest monitoring in EU, when new draft Regulation proposes to set-up new framework for it, when some part of data will be collected  by the Commission.

Then, Gabor Lovasi (ENV F1) presented the “EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and its expected impact on wood market in EU and neighborhood countries. He informed that EC launched the Information System on EUDR at the end of 2023 year, and dedicated training environment will be available later in 2024.

As additional measure to support EUDR, the JRC developed EO Observatory on Deforestation to provide reference maps on global forest cover. It was presented in December 2023 and currently publicly accessible online.

Jesus Alquezar Sabadie (ENV F1) described selected issues relevant to forests in the presentation ‘Interlinks between LULUCF Regulation (land use, land-use change and forestry) and RED (Renewable Energy Directive)’.

Situation in Ukraine with regard to forestry and forest management was presented by Viktor Smal. He accented the challenges in respect of ongoing war as well as need for sector development. Beside others he also noted that SFRA defines area of 1,9 million ha of self- grown forests, thus the total forest fund area of Ukraine is 12,3 million ha.