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How to use forest governance (FLEGT) to halt deforestation

In its work to create an Action Plan to Protect Forests and Respect Rights, the EU must learn from previous endeavours such as the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. A 2014 independent evaluation of the Action Plan showed that despite no "FLEGT licences" having being granted (since then Indonesia has started issuing FLEGT licences), there has already been a reduction in deforestation for illegal logging. Additionally, FLEGT has brought rights and governance issues to the forefront of government and local peoples’ minds and discussions. 

Although illegal logging remains a problem in the forestry sector, conversion of forests to land, often illegally cleared for agriculture commodities, has now become a much larger problem. Most tropical timber entering the EU today does not come from logging concessions, but from land converted to other uses, often illegally.

FLEGT could be seen as a model for how the EU should address the import of agricultural commodities like palm oil, soya and beef. This would mean creating the initiative together with producer country governments and agreeing ways for producers to improve and enforce their own laws. Local civil society and communities will need to be trained to be able to point to problems with the existing laws, and be involved in discussions around legal reform. They must also be able to hold their governments to account.

For more information see:

and Fern's illegal logging campaign