l a t f o r m N e w s
Issue 6, April 2005, Quarterly newsletter of the EC Forest Platform
The EC Forest Platform is a FERN initiative that creates links between peoples in the South and the European Community in connection with aid and forest issues
Dear Platform members,
As we near the summit that will review the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, the European Commission preparations for the ‘year of development’ keep being postponed: The European Council, Parliament and civil society have succeeded in pushing the revision of the development policy until the UN Millennium +5 summit (September 2005). The unanimous rejection by the Parliament of the future funding tool for development means that the Commission will have to come up with a brand new proposal. Slowing down for the better, as increasing participation will allow more time for thorough proposals.
Illegal logging is a key debate only being discussed among EU Member States. But for two meetings (the Luxembourg Presidency organised an informal gathering with industry and NGOs on 1 May 2005 and on 12 April 2005 the Commission discussed additional legislation with stakeholders), NGOs are the force ensuring that the broader range of stakeholders are kept informed. A Conference on illegal logging was held at the European Parliament on 7 April 2005, with the participation of Parliament members, governments, research institutions, industry and NGOs. As Malaysian NGO campaigners did in February 2005, Indonesian NGOs will now visit European countries to share their views with policy-makers and ask for clear commitments from consuming countries to ban illegal timber imports.
To submit article proposals or reactions to news you see here contact Iola Leal Riesco at email@example.com
c o n t e n t s
N e w p o l i c i e s
from the EU
N e w s f r o m around the
R e s o u r c e s
P l a t f o r m Debates
1. The EU finances the
By Edith Abilogo, EC Forest Platform focal point in Cameroon
The new mandate of the 'independent forest observer of
In 2000, the government of
Although the work of the independent forest observer (OI) had
shown numerous positive results until now, civil society is concerned about the
Reduction of power: Among others, the OI is downgraded to simple companion of the governmental teams. In future, it will not be allowed to undertake initiatives and supervise cases, and its reports will have to be approved by a ministerial Reading Committee. The clause that allowed, as a guarantee of transparency and independence, the publication of any report within 30 days after the date of submission to the Committee (independently of its approval) has now been cancelled. This provision will complicate the procedures of diffusing the information and will reduce the impact of the OI.
The budget of this new phase is 20% lower (200 million francs CFA)
than the previous programme. Since even with higher funds work on the whole
Requests of the civil society
A good result of the OI depends on its cooperation with the
A better documentation of the illegality will depend on the
optimization of the results of the forest control. Until today, most of the missions of the OI
have been made in large forest concessions, which only cover a part of the
surface of logging. A study conducted in
early 2005 showed that in other areas called 'Logging Sales" and
representing 20% of the operated forest surface in
about our national Platform activities and documents in Cameroon, or to
actively join the Platform, please contact our NGO focal point Edith Abilogo (firstname.lastname@example.org ), CED -
Centre pour l’Environnement et le
2. Update from
EC funded forest projects in
The process leading to the next Country Strategy Paper (CSP) has been delayed as the EC has been busy with Aceh after the earthquake and tsunami hit (December 2004). The scoping study that is supposed to take place soon has also been delayed with no clear timetable. The mechanism to involve civil society in the development, monitoring of implementation and evaluation of CSP has also not commenced. This was one of the Indonesian EC Forest Platform demands to the European Commission regarding EC development aid sent out last year. The Indonesian civil society group will try to push this through to the new head of the EC delegation (Jean Joseph Breteche), who took up his position in March 2005.
the issue of illegal logging and the FLEGT initiative, a stakeholder meeting
took place in
During the meeting, the Indonesian CSG were disappointed to learn that the consultation meeting for FLEGT Support Project isn’t confirmed yet, while the project is due to start very soon. It’s unacceptable that in Jambi – one of the project sites - even the head of the forestry office is ignorant about the project. Platform network in Jambi have held a series of discussions about this and have agreed to monitor the project closely.
Aid trace in the
For information about our
national Platform activities and documents in
3. FLEGT – in process
The draft law under discussion at EU level to control timber import from partner countries is still in process (see Platform News issue 5). NGOs have called for clear safeguards to be included in voluntary partnership agreements as detailed in the last platform newsletter (available in French, Spanish and English – see the links below). These include:
1) Partnership agreements should be based on a proper assessment of existing forest legislation (including customary law, human rights law etc);
2) Partnership agreements should be linked to a time-bound action programme moving towards sustainable forest management;
3) Partnership agreements should be developed in an inclusive process – involving NGOs and local communities - to draft partnership agreements;
4) Partnership agreements must specify that all exported timber should be licensed (not just exports to the EU);
5) Partnership agreements must specify that licensing must be based on independent verification of legality and allow for civil society spot check monitoring as part of the process.
EU Member States are still negotiating the principles for these partnership agreements. Depending on whether the Member States are taking these principles seriously and incorporating them into the partnership agreements, NGOs will continue to support the process or stop their support as otherwise there will be a high chance that the process will backfire and make illegitimate and destructive practices legitimate.
On 7 April 2005, FERN
co-organised a conference with Greenpeace and WWF to
expose the environmental and social impact of illegal and unsustainable logging
in tropical and tundra forests and discuss the European FLEGT (Forest Law
Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan in the European Parliament. Conference participants included members of
Parliament, government representatives from the EU and partner countries,
advance the debate on additional options to the voluntary partnership
agreements, the European Commission hosted a consultation meeting on 12 April
2005, attended by NGO representatives of
EU FLEGT Action Plan:
The Action Plan (May 2003): http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/forest/initiative/docs/Doc1-FLEGT_en.pdf#zoom=100
FERN’s analysis of the Action Plan and recommendations to the Council (Jul 2003): http://www.fern.org/pubs/briefs/illegallog2.pdf and http://www.fern.org/pubs/ngostats/AP_reccs.htm
Commission’s series of briefing sheets on the FLEGT Action Plan. (Apr 2004): http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/forest/initiative/briefing_sheets_en.htm n
Joint NGO Statement (Dec 2004) Controlling timber imports into the EU: http://www.fern.org/
Licensing Scheme and Voluntary Partnership Agreements:
Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (Jul 2004): http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/pdf/2004/com2004_0515en01.pdf
FERN, Greenpeace and WWF comment on the draft Council Regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (Sep 2004): http://www.fern.org/
FERN, Greenpeace and WWF Principles for FLEGT Partnership Agreements (Jan 2005): http://www.fern.org/
Facing Reality: how to halt the import of illegal timber in the EU. FERN, WWF and Greenpeace (Apr 2004): http://www.fern.org/pubs/reports/facing_reality.pdf
A statement promoted by FERN, WWF and Greenpeace and signed by over 70 European companies (Apr 2005) http://www.panda.org/downloads/europe/industrystatementonflegt.pdf
On 23 February 2005, negotiations were concluded
between the European Union and representatives of African,
The Cotonou Agreement, first signed on 23 June
ACP countries opposed strongly to the inclusion of a protocol linking the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the ratification of the International Criminal Court to the eligibility for EU aid. This decision meaning that, in future, aid could be suspended if the country does not co-operate with the EU. Surprisingly, the final agreement was put on the table in only one week, with a compensation to ACP countries of minimum financing for the upcoming period 2008 - 2013 and an EU pledge to make additional funding available to offset potential negative effects of its Economic Partnership Agreements with the region (see Platform News issue 4).
Tense negotiations diverged attention away from
ensuring that the Cotonou Agreement would reflect EU commitments to sustainable
development. Natural resources like
forests are vital for the subsistence of poor people, and environmental
degradation has a significant impact on economic growth and social development
(1). Access to land, water, forests,
fishing stocks and other natural resources play a central role in violent
The revised agreement is due to be signed in June 2005.
(1) Commission for
(2) ACP – EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Report on sustainable management and conservation of countries in the context of the 9th EDF programme. ACP-EU Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment, ACP/EU 3590/03/fin, 11 Oct 2003 Available at http://www.europarl.eu.int/intcoop/acp/92_01/pdf/pr_social_en.pdf
5. The EC needs to reinforce support to its delegations
The Court of Auditors - the EC financial watchdog – urges the Commission too improve support to its delegations in non-EU countries, placing specific emphasis on thematic expertise (environment, health, etc.).
The audit, made public in May 2005, analyses the impact of
the ongoing reform of the management of EC aid. In May 2000, the Commission
announced a major reform aiming to radically improve the speed and quality of
its aid programme. It included as a key component the devolution of EC aid
management tasks and responsibilities from the Commission's headquarters in
The overly centralised management of the EC aid programme and the lack of responsibilities and resources in the Commission delegations had been criticised by the Court itself on several occasions (2). After the devolution, the responsibility of the EC delegations has increased in several areas. They are now responsible for project preparation, contracting, and financial and technical implementation, and they have received extra human and technical resources.
The Court considers that in general EC delegations have
been “reasonably” well prepared “to deal with the different aspects of development activities, leading to
[…] a better
understanding of local conditions, risks and opportunities”. Unfortunately, the process has not been as successful in
Regarding the results of devolution, it is still too early - after less than two years - to see any improvement in the speed and quality of EC external aid. Also, the lack of a complete set of performance indicators at an early stage in the devolution process makes it difficult to measure progress against the main objectives.
For the time being, the Commission will have to start work on solving existing problems. These include recruiting staff with appropriate expertise in EC delegations, ensuring the provision of quality support to delegations, improving the financial information systems, addressing any outstanding training needs and simplifying procedures.
(1) The final responsibility remains with the headquarters of the
(2) Court of Auditors (2000) Special Report No 21/2000 on the Management of the Commission's aid programmes, in particular on country programming, project preparation and the role of Delegations; (1998) Special Report No 1/98 in respect of bilateral financial and technical cooperation with non-member Mediterranean countries; (1997) Special Report No 3/97 concerning the decentralised system for the implementation of the PHARE programme; (1997) Annual Report 1997.
Report of the European Court of Auditors (Dec 2004) http://www.eca.eu.int/audit_reports/special_reports/docs/2004/rs10_04en.pdf
N e w p o l i c i e s from the EU
6. EC Development Policy Statement on its way
The European Commission public consultation on the future of EC development policy closed on 19 March 2005. The outcome of this consultation is expected to provide input for the ongoing process of revision of the framework for the current development policy. The initial date foreseen to reach a joint Commission – Council – Parliament agreement in the form of a Declaration has been extended until Autumn 2005.
consultation, NGOs highlighted the importance of a strong and coherent policy
underpinning EC development co-operation.
The initiative to start a public debate was widely welcomed. However, most civil society networks with a
Despite these criticisms, the Commission evaluates the consultation – with 346 responses to the questionnaire - “as a big success”. The EC Forest Platform hopes that the detailed analysis of the consultation, which will be made public in April 2005, includes both quantitative and qualitative submissions.
Initial results of the questionnaire expose the lameness of the EC development policy, which does not consider environmental concerns as equal to economic and social issues. The importance of environmental concerns for developing countries is widely stressed by questionnaire respondents: 64.5 per cent of the answers call for the environment to be considered at the same level as economic and social development in the dialogue with developing countries, and a 44.5 per cent request that alternative mechanisms are developed to address global environmental issues in developing countries (1).
Other points that must be incorporated in this analysis include the request to provide a clear commitment to a distinct and coherently managed development policy dedicated to achieving poverty eradication through sustainable development, and to identify indigenous peoples’ rights – often the most marginalised populations in society - as one of the cross-cutting priorities. Both demands have been backed up by numerous direct statements.
We have yet to see if such broad civil society recognition gives forests and forests peoples their correct place in the future development policy.
(1) A short statistical overview about the results of the online questionnaire is available (see the links below).
Current Development Policy Statement (Nov 2000) http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/legislation/docs/council_statement.pdf
Commission’s consultation site http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/index_en.htm <http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/index_en.htm>
Commission’s Issues Paper (Jan 2005) http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/doc/Issues_Paper_EN.pdf
ECDPM – ICEI – ODI (Feb 2005) Assessment of the EC Development Policy. Available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/tmp_docs/ecdpm_report.pdf#zoom=100
Commission’s statistical overview of the online questionnaire (Mar 2005) in English http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/doc/Stat_IPM_EN.pdf in French http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/doc/Stat_IPM_FR.pdf
7. EU financial framework 2007-2013 discussion continues
The EU financial allocation for 2007-2013 (Financial Perspectives) and the funding instruments are currently being examined by the European Parliament and the Council (see also Platform News issues 4 and 5).
The joint advocacy of environmental, human rights, development and social NGOs, including the EC Forest Platform, contributed to the unanimous rejection by the Development Committee of the Parliament, of the proposed regulation for a funding instrument for development co-operation (see Platform News issue 5). The Parliament report asks, among others, for separate instruments for co-operation with developing and non-developing countries and for Parliament to have a clear role in the establishment of development policy objectives and spending amounts.
The temporary committee on the financial allocation will
vote this month on the report on Parliament’s priorities. The EC Forest
Platform has worked together with the main environmental and development NGOs
In March 2005, the European Commission finalised its evaluation of the regulations underpinning the allocation of EC aid to environment and forest activities in developing countries with an open seminar.(1) Of the €342 million earmarked under these regulations for 2000-2006 (including €249 million for forests), the evaluation covers the €116 million spent in 2000-2002. (see the links below)
The evaluation highlights the contribution of these budget lines to involve the EC in global environmental processes, and as a complement to the limited environment and forests interventions under geographic co-operation with partner countries. It notwithstanding fails to define appropriately the added value of the projects financed under these initiatives:
The evaluation is critical of inefficient administrative procedures and the Commission’s failure to learn from past experience. It underlines, as exposed previously by NGOs (2), the failure of both partner governments and the EC to incorporate forest-related issues into Country and Regional Strategy Papers – where recipient governments set their development priorities, and through which they should obtain the bulk of their development funds. Yet at the same time, it also recommends opening up these separate funds to those governments, thereby limiting funds available for civil society groups, who have little access to funding via CSPs.
Main recommendations include the continuation of budget lines beyond 2006 and an increase in funding for these sectors. However, since the future of these lines will be ruled out under the Commission’s proposed restructuring of EC aid (see Platform News issues 4 and 5), it seems that it will fall within the Commission’s discretion to provide continued funding for forests and forest peoples’ issues in the future.
(1) Regulation (EC) 2493/2000 on measures to
promote the environmental dimension in developing countries, and 2494/2000 on
measures to promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests in
(2) FERN (2002) Forests at the Edge. Dec 2002, page 66.
DRN-ADE-NCG-ECO (Nov 2004) Evaluation of the Environment and Forests Regulations 2493/2000 and 2494/2000. Evaluation for the European Commission http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/evaluation/program/sectorrep.htm
9. Illegal timber shipment from the Amazon
22 March 2005, activists from Greenpeace and Quercus, the largest environmental
organisation in Portugal, blocked the entrance of a timber carrier in the
Portuguese port of Leixões, in an
attempt to stop a shipment of timber from companies known to be involved in
illegal logging in the Amazon from being unloaded. This protest exposes
The action aimed to challenge the new Portuguese Government to take a strong public stand in full support of the European Union's action plan to tackle the trade in illegal timber (see above) and to back new European legislation to prohibit the import of illegally logged timber.
timber carrier contained over 253,000 US dollars from the Brazilian Amazon,
including wood from at least four companies convicted in
At the end of 2004, Greenpeace and Quercus asked a number of Portuguese timber importers to support the campaign for EU legislation to stop the import of illegal timber. Two of them, Sardinha & Leite and Sonae Industria have now declared their support (see the link below for the statement). The organisations are now calling on all Portuguese importers to reject any timber onboard the shipment that comes from companies with convictions for illegal logging.
A statement promoted by FERN, WWF and Greenpeace and signed by over 70 European companies calling for EU legislation to outlaw the imports of illegal wood products (Apr 2005) http://www.panda.org/downloads/europe/industrystatementonflegt.pdf
10. Sarayacu ask oil company CGC to leave Ecuador
Sarayacu Indians urge the government of
The Sarayaku community maintains that the extraction of oil from their territory will damage their environment and way of life, as has been the case with other Amazonian indigenous communities. Due to their opposition to the concessions, the community has been the subject of a campaign of intimidation, including death threats and physical abuse.
In response, the Sarayaku made the first of several petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR), a principal organ of the Organisation of American States (OAS). The petition alleged that CGC and the Ecuadorian military had violated not only international human rights law but also the Constitution of Ecuador, which guarantees the collective rights of indigenous peoples to maintain ancestral possession of their lands and to be consulted about plans for exploration of non-renewable resources on their lands.
May 2003, the IACHR ordered
The Inter-American Commission responded by requesting provisional measures from the Court, legally binding for all OAS Member States that have recognised the Court’s jurisdiction, such as Ecuador. A decision on the merits of the case remains pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, but is expected during its October 2005 session.
ruling in favour of the Sarayaku would have significant implications for the
rights of indigenous peoples throughout the
A final ruling from the Commission on the merits of the case would result in it being sent to the Court by 2006 for a final, binding resolution of the matter.
Ruling by the Inter-American Commission on behalf of the Sarayaku (Oct 2004). http://www.cidh.oas.org/annualrep/2004eng/Ecuador.167.03eng.htm
Sarayacu’s website http://www.sarayacu.com/
R e s o u r c e s
11. Understanding EU intricacies: new briefings and publications
Aid trace in the Forest: Development Aid Scheme in Forest Sector in Indonesia Case Study South Central Kalimantan Production Forest Project (Dec 2004): This Telapak briefing note finds that a 39 million euro EC-Indonesian Forestry project aiming to achieve sustainable forest management did not deliver due to the lack of public participation. The briefing can be downloaded in English. http://www.telapak.org/project/download/SCKPFP_briefing_final_E.pdf, and Indonesian http://www.telapak.org/project/download/SCKPFP_briefing_final_BI.pdf
EU Donor Atlas: Mapping Official Development Assistance (May 2004): A European Commission mapping exercise of the EU official development assistance (ODA) worldwide and profiles of EU donors. ODA from the new Member States, not currently members of the OECD, is not included. http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/tmp_docs/zoom=100
Forests, natural disasters and human security: Examining the Linkages (April 2005): The latest issue of arborvitae, the joint IUCN/WWF Forest Conservation Newsletter, explores the role that forests play in natural disasters – tsunamis, floods, droughts, landslides – and the way forest preservation reduces the vulnerability of people to such disasters. The issue concludes that the basics for achieving forest conservation and disaster reduction are the same – reducing poverty, ensuring local rights and promoting good governance. http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/publications/arborvitae/avnewsletter/arborvitae27.pdf
8. What is the EC
In July 2002 FERN launched the EC (European Community) Forest Platform. The Platform’s aim is to ensure that EC development co-operation (10 per cent of the world’s Official Development Assistance) has a positive impact on forests and forest people. Its mains goals are:
Platform activities should contribute to a better implementation of commitments made by the European Commission with regard to development co-operation, environmental integration and recognition of civil society as an active partner. Exchanges between European-based Environmental NGOs and Southern NGOs should contribute to raising awareness among Northern Environmental NGOs about development-related problems faced by people in the South.
For more information or to become a member of the EC Forest Platform, visit our website http://www.fern.org/pages/aid/platform.htm or send an e-mail to the Platform co-ordinator, Iola Leal Riesco, email@example.com