FOREST EUROPE (The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe) is the pan-European policy process for the sustainable management of the continent’s forests. FOREST EUROPE develops common strategies for its 46 member countries and the European Union on how to protect and sustainably manage forests. Founded in 1990, the continuous co-operation of FOREST EUROPE has led to achievements such as the guidelines and criteria for sustainable forest management. The collaboration of the ministers responsible for forests in Europe has been of great economic, environmental and social importance on the national and international level. High-priority topics of FOREST EUROPE are to strengthen the role of forests in mitigating climate change, secure the supply of good-quality fresh water, enhance and preserve forest biodiversity and provide forest products. Other important tasks are to develop a framework for future forest collaboration and to explore the possibilities for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe. Several countries outside Europe and international, non-governmental and private sector organisations participate as observers. FOREST EUROPE is linked to global and other regional processes and initiatives dealing with issues of highest political and social relevance related to forests. Spain currently holds the chairmanship of FOREST EUROPE.