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Development Aid

Fern’s aim is to improve the quality of EU and Member State aid so it contributes to the protection of forests and the recognition of forest peoples' rights.

Fern’s analysis:The European Union is by far the world’s largest donor. In 2013 the top 12 donors, in terms of the proportion of Overseas Development Aid (ODA) to Gross National Income, were European countries. European ODA increased from EUR 40.4 billion in 2002 to EUR 70.0 billion in 2012.EU ODA commitments for climate change mitigation increased more than four-fold between 2007 and 2011, reaching EUR 0.98 billion in 2011. The European country giving most aid was Norway and Germany was the Member State which spent the most on biodiversity. The element of ODA that went to forest-related projects also dramatically increased between 2002 and 2012, from EUR 130.2 million to EUR 493.2 million, while disbursements identified as biodiversity increased from EUR 74.8 million to EUR 329.6 million. Although this is all positive in principle, the increase in spending has often gone hand in hand with cuts in staff. Furthermore not all spending ensures that the rights of local people are being respected.

What Fern is doing: Fern has been working on this issue since 1995. Successes include ensuring that country environmental profiles (reports analysing the country's environmental situation) must now guarantee all aid programmes take ecological considerations and the rights of local communities into account. More recently our work has focused on effective implementation of the EU FLEGT Programme, funded by the European Commission and EU Member States (see www.fern.org/FLEGT).

To learn more about this campaign:see history of the EC Forest Platform or Taking stock: Tracking trends in European Aid for forests and communities.

Most recent publications

Tackling illegal logging in Ghana: Why civil society is generating pressure to deliver a VPA

by Samuel Mawutor


 

I have just returned from a two-week policy tour of Europe, visiting decision makers working on the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands. I was hoping to whip up interest in and support for FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) by showing Member States the successes and impacts that the Ghana VPA is already having. I also wanted to raise the challenges that civil society are having with the process. Together with my colleagues from Liberia and Cameroon, we also sought to highlight the fact that FLEGT is a transformational approach to developmental aid, which may be slow but could have far-reaching effects.

Where are forests in Europe’s plans to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality?

by Indra Van Gisbergen

In September 2015, after the largest consultation in the history of the United Nations, more than 150 world leaders agreed on a new agenda to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty”.

The Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) lay out 17 universal goals, targets and indicators to frame the agendas and policies of UN member states for the next 15 years.

Launched amid great fanfare with the support of celebrities from Beyoncé to Usain Bolt and Stephen Hawking, the SDG’s aims include ending “poverty in all its forms everywhere”; achieving “food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture”, and taking “urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”.

But between outlining these lofty ambitions and realising them, lies an enormous gulf: the daunting and fiendishly complex task of agreeing on the policies required.

Fern's input to the EU Consultation on revising the European Consensus on Development

Fern's input into the European Commission consultation on how development policy, in the context of EU external action as foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty, should respond to the range of landmark 2015 summits and conferences, and also to the rapid changes happening in the world.

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PDF iconFern response to consultation.pdf107.78 KB

Comment on the COP21 - a forest perspective

Forests barely feature in the draft text, but runaway climate change could devastate the forests which more than a billion people directly rely on for their survival. Forests also play a crucial role in regulating the climate. Whichever way you look at it, the outcome of the Paris agreement is also an outcome for forests.
 
Kate Dooley  is in Paris, tracking the developments in the UN climate summit. She has written this overview of the talks from a forests perspective for Fern. Check back later in the  week for  further perspectives from Kate and other contributors.

New study finds EU donors spend millions of Euros halting deforestation while funding projects that drive it

20 March 2015. On the eve of UN International Day of Forests, this press release launches a new study commissioned by Fern to take stock of EU spending on forests. It finds striking incoherence at the heart of donor spending. Fern believes this could be fatally undermining the efficiency of aid to forests and calls for increased coherence and new priorities.

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PDF iconTracking Trends final.pdf375.41 KB

Taking stock: Tracking trends in European Aid for forests and communities

Forests and forest-dependent communities are under increasing pressure due to infrastructure projects and the demand for agricultural commodities. Although there is growing recognition of the importance of forests in mitigating climate change, this makes them vulnerable to a new threat: that they will be appropriated to capture potential payments to compensate for carbon emissions (REDD+ initiatives).

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PDF iconfern_takingstock_internet.pdf3.26 MB

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