l a t f o r m N e w s
Issue7 - August 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
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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 World
R e s o u r c e s
P l a t f o r m Debates
1. EC strategy for co-operation with Central Africa
Article based on a document by
the last few months the Cameroonian EC Forest Platform has grown to over 30
members. The main work of the Platform
during this period was the participation in two crucial main debates: the EC
annual programme for grants for forests and environmental issues and the
development of the EC strategy for co-operation with
20 April 2005, EC Forest Platform groups attended a presentation of the EC annual programme for co-operation in
the areas of forests and the environment by the delegation of the
European Commission in
first information and consultation meeting between Platform Groups and the
Cameroonian government on the mid-term review of the EC strategy for co-operation with Central Africa - took place
in Yaoundé, capital of
The objective of the consultation meeting was to discuss how Cameroonian civil society groups could participate in the development process. The Platform member demanded a clear role for civil society groups in this debate. Furthermore, the EC Forest Platform focused on the ECOFAC Project (3), a major EC regional project in the area, and its impact on the livelihoods of forest-dependent peoples and on Cameroonian biodiversity.
A study on the implementation of the current Regional Strategy Paper done by Michel Nadon, EMCCA (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) executive counsellor - which should have fed into the mid-term review, is not yet available to civil society groups, although we have been informed it is finalised. Despite the fact that the mid-term review was initially scheduled to be finalised on mid-July, it seems that this date has been postponed until autumn 2005. Platform groups are concerned that, despite local authorities seemingly including civil society groups in the debate, they are not being sufficiently informed and involved.
the coming months, the Platform will continue to follow up on these
issues. Lastly, an EC Forest Platform
meeting discussing the voluntary partnership agreement between
(1) This budget line was initially established in 1991, although it was not given a legal basis until 1995 – a Regulation called ‘Operations to Promote Tropical Forests’ -. In 2000 this Regulation was replaced by a new one ((EC) 2492/2000) called ‘On measures to promote the conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests and other forests in developing countries’, extending the scope to cover all types of forests. To simplify management and reduce administrative costs, budget line B7-6201 (Tropical Forests) - providing financial resources on measures covered under the 2000 regulation - was merged in 2001 with budget line B7-6200, covering measures on the environment. In 2004, the merged budget line was reclassified as 21 02 05. This merged budget line provides financial resources to forests and environmental projects, described in Regulation (EC) 2494/2000 ( ‘On measures to promote the conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests and other forests in developing countries’), and Regulation (EC) 2493/2000 (‘On measures to promote the full integration of the environmental dimension in the development process of developing countries’).
NOTE. In September 2004 the Commission presented a new proposal for a regulation underpinning all development aid. If this Regulation is approved, it will be the legal basis for future funding for forest issues under EC development cooperation. For more information see Platform News issue 6.
(2) The environmental regional situation is not yet a requirement, which contradicts the need for mainstreaming environmental issues in EC policies and programmes.
(3) ECOFAC is an EC-funded project
covering six countries in the
For information about our national Platform activities
and documents in Cameroon, or to actively join the Platform, please contact our
NGO focal point
2. The EC-Indonesia FLEGT Support Project
European Commission and the government of
order to ensure a successful outcome of the project,
1) there will be the prosecution of at least one timber baron;
2) there will be the adoption of a legality standard and it’s verification system;
3) there will be at least one case of verification or certification of timber from community forests;
4) there will be no evidence of corruption and manipulation of financial data.
Furthermore, the Indonesia CSG is calling for the involvement of several ministries in the project. As the European Commission has already noted (1), addressing forest governance implies the involvement of a wide range of actors. It is particularly important that other ministries - especially those with responsibility for law enforcement and trade issues - work together with the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) – the project’s executing agency- to achieve the project’s goals.
(1) European Commission Communication COM (2003) 251 final on
For more information about the FLEGT Support Project you can read the Telapak – FERN Briefing note Finding solutions to illegal logging: civil society and the FLEGT Support Project. Available in English and Indonesian at www.fern.org
For information about our national Platform activities and documents in
3. EU FLEGT update
Negotiations on the EU negotiation mandate for the Voluntary Partnership Agreement and the law at EU level to control timber import from partner countries are still ongoing (see Platform News issues 5 and 6). It is expected that the negotiation mandate will be approved in September 2005 with the Regulation being scheduled for approval in October 2005.
FERN, Greenpeace and WWF organised a conference for European Parliamentarians in April 2005 to get them more involved in the debate at EU level (see Platform News issue 6). This was successful as the European Parliament is now very interested in the issue. This became clear by the adoption of a Resolution by all the political partners (see links below) on 4 July 2005, calling on the European Commission and the Member States to make strong and rapid progress on the implementation of the FLEGT action plan, including:
1) the submission by the Commission of a comprehensive legislative proposal that will prohibit the import of all illegally sourced timber and forest products into the EU, regardless of the country of origin, and the promotion of socially and ecologically responsible forest management worldwide as the final objective;
2) the review of existing national legislation and further legislative options which could be applied with a view to addressing the illegal logging issue and related trade issues;
3) the establishment of an EU network to facilitate the exchange of information on illegal trading in timber, for customs, administrative and judicial authorities;
4) ensuring that the voluntary partnership agreements incorporate partnership principles committing producer countries to a time-bound action programme and involving measures to tackle the weaknesses in forest-sector governance, contribute to socially and ecologically responsible forest management and an end to biodiversity loss, and promote social equity and poverty alleviation;
5) ensuring stronger, effective and meaningful participation of civil society and democratically elected representatives in the negotiation and implementation of FLEGT partnership agreements, as well as in the process of reviewing the partner country’s forest-related laws to identify weaknesses and social and environmental injustices and, where necessary, the drafting of proposals for change;
6) ensuring the integration of forest law enforcement, governance and trade into the planning and implementation of the next round of Country Strategy Papers (CSPs), in particular in regions and countries with significant forest resources, and provide adequate funds from geographic budget lines in order to build capacity and support implementation of key reforms;
The Voluntary Partnership Agreements
Although formally no negotiations for the VPAs have started, the German, Dutch and
The failure or success of this element of the FLEGT process will depend on the critical attitude (or lack thereof) of the Commission delegation in these countries (which are the main negotiators) and the supporting EU Member States. If they can conclude a partnership agreement with the full inclusion and agreement of most civil society actors (including indigenous communities and local groups) and if the agreement will not just legitimise business as usual and ensures that unjust or destructive laws will be changed, this process could lead to serious improvement in some countries. However, if the EU seems to be concluding partnership agreements which will legitimise current practices, undermine social struggles and lead to legalising currently illegal practices, we will have to be quick in denouncing the process. All is still up in the air and it may well be that the situation will vary in different countries depending on the government, the EU delegation and the strength of civil society groups.
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/
European Parliament resolution (Jun 2005) : http://www2.europarl.eu.int/omk/sipade2?L=EN&OBJID=97760&LEVEL=3&MODE=SIP&NAV=X&LSTDOC=N
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
4. Disagreements over
On 25 June
2005, the EU and the 77 ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) countries met together
to sign the revision of the
The 77 ACP countries, which were under strong pressure from the EU during the negotiations leading to inclusion of the so-called ‘transitory measures’ into the revised Cotonou agreement (2), formed a united block in discussion against the immediate implementation of these measures from the day the new agreement was signed. In general, the ACP countries seemed to lack confidence that the EU was seriously committed to improving the situation in the ACP countries, or, indeed, that it even wanted to (as stated at the European Council on 17 June 2005).
The ACP countries demanded that the implementation of the transitory measures would take effect only after ratification of the revised Cotonou Agreement – which could take years -, and demanded serious financial support to implement these measures. The compromise reached was:
§ new measures will be subordinated to the precise amount that the EU will allocate to support these activities;
ratification of the renewed
§ an EU proposal on financial support to the ACP countries should therefore be on the table before the end of 2005 for approval by EU Member States.
(1) The Cotonou Agreement, first signed on 23 June 2000 at
(2) ‘Transitory measures’ refer to support the fight
against terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the
ratification of the International Criminal Court. With these measures embedded
Available from firstname.lastname@example.org
N e w p o l i c i e s from the EU
5. New Framework for the EC Development Policy
On 13 July 2005, the European Commission presented its proposal for a joint Parliament /Council/ Commission Declaration on the EU’s Development Policy (see Platform News issue 6). The Declaration, which is expected to be jointly approved by the three EU institutions in autumn 2005, will be the basis of future EC support to Southern countries, including support to forest and indigenous peoples’ issues.
Indigenous peoples’ issues
The proposed declaration contains improved language on forests and forests peoples than the current Declaration. The proposal takes on the NGO demands, presented to the Commission in an open letter (see link below) in February 2005 and includes for the first time the need to integrate indigenous peoples’ issues throughout the development programme (1). Moreover, indigenous peoples will also be included under the future ‘Democracy and Human Rights Programme’, one of the six thematic programmes planned for 2007-2013 (see Platform News issue 6).
As presented by the Commission, the draft declaration
incorporates the integration of the environment as an essential element to
development. This recognition underlines
EU commitments on environmental issues and reflects the concerns of civil
This recognition does not come out of the blue. During the months previous to the drafting of the proposal, NGOs in North and South highlighted the importance of environmental issues as equal to economic and social issues in EC aid activities. This position was visible in the consultation organised by the European Commission on the new development policy (see Platform News issue 6). The importance of environmental concerns for developing countries was particularly highlighted by Southern respondents, providing some evidence that it is the South that suffers most from the effects of environmental degradation.
But there are of course omissions in the draft document. FERN is particularly concerned with the failure to include a clear framework for enhancing and monitoring environmental integration and for enhancing coherence among different EU policies. Without such a framework, the new policy and its associated instruments could undermine development by slashing efforts to ensure sustainable development.
(1) The necessity to integrate indigenous peoples’ rights in EC co-operation activities was first stated in 1998 through a Council resolution.
EU Development Policy
Commission’s proposal for a joint Declaration on the EU Development Policy (Jul 2005) http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/development_policy_statement/index_en.htm
Commission’s consultation site 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
Current Development Policy Statement (Nov 2000) http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/legislation/docs/council_statement.pdf
Report on the public consulation of the Development policy (Jun 2005) http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/tmp_docs/consultation_report_en.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
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
Joint NGO Statement on Environment http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/doc/ong/ENGO_Statement_on_EU_Development_Policy.pdf#zoom=100
Joint NGO Statement on Indigenous peoples http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/consultation/doc/ong/Almaciga_Fern_Iwgia_Gitpa_Amnesty_%20International_Adivasi.pdf
N e w s f r o m around the World
6. Forest Watch
satellite imagery suggests that logging is underway even inside State managed
forest reserves, records show that the industry has failed to pay the Ghanaian
Forestry Commission around US$ 100 million in fees each year – that’s more than
the country’s HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) relief for 2004. If successful the court case could mean
hundreds of millions of dollars returned to the people, the authorities and the
Forestry Commission, to help in sustainably managing
(1) Forest Watch Ghana is a civil society coalition campaigning for equitable and accountable forest governance.
further information Contact
Al-hassan Adam, Co-coordinator, Forest Watch
7. Europe and
To prepare for the
Ministerial meeting on the Europe and North Asia Forest Law Enforcement and
Governance (ENA-FLEG), expected to take place in
With low expectations for the meeting and a relatively short time for the civil society selection process, the outcome of the meeting positively surprised participants. After the collapse of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in New York in May 2005, regional process such as this one are of particular importance. The results from the two previous FLEG meetings – the Asia FLEG process and the Africa FLEG process – have been up to now disappointing, above all due to the ineffective involvement of civil society and the lack of implementation. It is important to bear these issues in mind with the ENA-FLEG process and learn from mistakes made. In the end, the outcome of the meeting will greatly depend on the way comments from all stakeholders, including local civil society, are integrated into the final declaration and on the proposed actions that will follow the Ministerial.
For information on the agenda and how
to participate in the process, see the FERN-TRN briefing note Europe
ENA-FLEG preparatory conference - Civil society statement
IISD summary of the preparatory conference .
World Bank ENA-FLEG website http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ESSD/ardext.nsf/14ByDocName/ForestGovernanceProgramEuropeandNorthAsiaForestLawEnforcementandGovernance
FERN and TRN briefing notes on the ENA FLEG process
Europe and North Asia FLEG: the next steps for civil society (July 2004) http://www.fern.org/media/documents/document_1668_1669.pdf . (It will be shortly available in Russian and Chinese)
R e s o u r c e s
8. Understanding EU intricacies: new briefings and publications
Back to the Forest: An evaluation of the EC forest programme in Indonesia and proposals to improve its performance in the future (June 2005): A FERN briefing outlining key reasons for failure under the EC-Indonesia Forest Programme and proposing recommendations to improve the quality of EC aid with the Country. Available at www.fern.org
Finding solutions to illegal logging: civil society and the FLEGT Support Project (June 2005): A Telapak and FERN briefing explaining the details of the EC-funded project and outlining key practices for a successful outcome. Available in English and Indonesian at www.fern.org
After the tsunami: the EC, the environment and
A Guide to Independent Forest Monitoring (July 2005): A Global Witness publication regarding Independent Forest Monitoring for governments, donors, and NGOs, based on its pioneering work in Cambodia and Cameroon. Available in English at
Forest Law Enforcement in
A Guide to EU funding: Accessing
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