Minister of the Environment Rain Epler (EKRE) said on ETV's political interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Thursday that the steering committee for the drafting of the national forestry development plan for the period until 2030 was dismissed because it did not seek compromise in its planning process.
Epler said that he decided to dismiss the committee because it had lately not been focused on its goal. The minister highlighted that a steering committee should be able to lead processes and deliver results.
"In my assessment, the steering committee that had been convening until lately, was large and undoubtedly very broad-based in its exchange of opinions; however, focus on the goal had been missing in it lately," he said.
The composition of the new committee is not clear yet, according to Epler. He said that the committee should be made up of representatives of five to six areas relating to forestry.
"Ideally, the steering committee would consist of five to six people and the chair; in reality, there might be a maximum of two representatives from each field," he said.
"The task of the steering committee, however, and the clear focus which I aim to convey when the committee first convenes is that the committee should lead this process, keep to the schedule, that each member of the committee should work with experts in their field and definitely resolve discord if it arises and try to reach a compromise," he said.
"What was evident in the dismissed committee -- I've read their verbatim reports -- was that at times they were not even trying to reach common ground, instead they simply kept reiterating their positions to the other party," the minister added.
Epler said that understandably, the cutting of forests causes indignation among some people.
The minister opined, however, that people in rural areas see the growing and cutting of forests as a natural part of life, whereas many pro-forest advocates are city dwellers who shape their positions based on pictures shared on social media.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste