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EU Drivers: Presentations

Conference: Protecting forests, respecting rights

On 30 March 2015, Fern hosted a conference looking at how to develop an EU Action Plan on Deforestation. This is important as the EU's consumption of agricultural commodities and timber has resulted in the destruction of at least 9 million hectares of forest, equivalent to the size of Ireland, over the period 1990 - 2008.

In June 2013 the European Parliament and Member States agreed to assess the environmental impact of EU consumption of food and non-food commodities and to develop policy proposals, including potentially an EU action plan on deforestation and forest degradation. This conference aimed to inform the development of this EU action plan. It was hosted by MEPs Catherine Bearder, Paul Brannen and Yannick Jadot.

To watch a full video of the event visit:

David Kaimowitz (Director of Sustainable Development, Ford Foundation) introduced the conference, his presentation is available below:


Highlights of the conference are available here:

Interviews with participants after the event included discussions around what the EU should do next:

Most recent publications

Civil society statement: EU Protein Plan for Europe - Please stand up for forests, people and animals!

On March 8, NGOs sent a letter to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calling them on standing up for forests, people and animals when voting on the EU Protein Plan for Europe.

PDF iconProtein letter_FINAL.pdf155.25 KB

Agricultural commodity consumption in the EU - Cocoa

Cocoa consumption is a major cause of deforestation – estimated to have destroyed an area of forest the size of Belgium between 1988 and 2008. Other problems include endemic use of child labour, local tenure conflicts, and extreme poverty among cocoa farmers and their families. As the world’s largest importer, manufacturer and consumer of cocoa and cocoa products, the European Union (EU) has a special responsibility to help tackle these issues. Fern is calling for the EU to take action to ensure cocoa imports don’t cause deforestation, and pay farmers a fair income.

This is the third in a series of background notes on agricultural commodities.

PDF iconCocoa_briefing_paper_WEB.pdf1.23 MB

Why agroecology should be the buzzword in EU farm policy negotiations

By Nicole Polsterer

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) revision may be being negotiated 1000s of miles away from the sun-drenched fields in Brazil, but decisions made in Europe will have a huge effect on how such land is used.

At the end of 2017 I was able to see two very different forms of farming first-hand. One - endless biodiversity free lines of soya was destined to fatten European livestock, the other small-scale Acai berries grown within biodiversity rich forest.

I was thinking of both as I attended the United Green Left and Nordic Green Left conference Building a Manifesto for a Green and Fair CAP.

Representatives from the health, environment, animal welfare, sustainable trade, development, and agroforestry fields were meeting to convince the European Commission to make fundamental changes.

And change is certainly needed - European agriculture is in a dismal state. The average age of a European farmer is 65; 25 per cent have quit farming in the past decade; biodiversity in Europe is declining; water pollution due to run off of fertilizers is a threat to public health; and the EU imports 14 million tonnes of soya form Brazil annually, much of it grown on illegally deforested land. CAP reform could help young farmers and those transitioning to ecological practises; instead they are being driven by industrial interests.

The right to agroecology: Using the law to support sustainable farming in Brazil

This publication shows how existing national and international legal frameworks can support sustainable agriculture in Brazil, thereby reducing pressure to convert forests to large plantations.