EUFORGEN’s original mandate, as set out in a 1990 resolution of Forest Europe, was to promote and coordinate:
Since then, the Signatory Countries of Forest Europe have embraced additional commitments to the conservation of FGR. For example, in 2003 the Vienna meeting of Forest Europe agreed to “promote the conservation of forest genetic resources as an integral part of sustainable forest management and continue the pan-European collaboration in this area”.
The next conference, in Warsaw in 2007, included a commitment in the Warsaw Declaration to “maintain, conserve, restore and enhance the biological diversity of forests, including their genetic resources, through sustainable forest management”.
The importance of EUFORGEN’s work was underscored by the Signatory Countries of Forest Europe in 2015. At the Madrid conference, Ministerial Resolution 2 committed countries to “continue pan-European collaboration on forest genetic resources through the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN)”.
The same resolution commits countries to implementing EUFORGEN’s conservation strategy at national level. Countries agreed to “promote national implementation of strategies and guidelines for dynamic conservation and appropriate use of forest genetic resources under changing climate conditions”.
These commitments of Forest Europe and others, for example under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), have seen EUFORGEN adapt its mandate to include information systems and strategies for conservation and sustainable use of FGR. Climate change has become an important focus, prompted by CBD decisions to “increase understanding of the potential of forest genetic diversity to address climate change”.
In 2014, member countries continued their support of EUFORGEN by agreeing to Phase V of the Programme, to run from 2015 to 2019. EUFORGEN continues to operate under the Forest Europe framework, as the pan‐European implementation mechanism of Strasbourg Resolution 2 and other commitments on forest genetic resources, including the CBD commitments.
The FAO Conference is also driving conservation and use of FGR, having adopted a Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources (GPA‐FGR) in 2013. One aim of the GPA-FGR is to “promote access to, and sharing of, information on forest genetic resources at regional and national levels”. The GPA-FGR also identifies several regional strategies relevant to Europe, and FAO has recognized that EUFORGEN can play a crucial role in the implementation of the GPA‐FGR. As a result, the EUFORGEN Steering Committee agreed that in Phase V the Programme should contribute to the implementation of the regional‐level priorities of the GPA‐FGR in Europe.