Ahead of the hearings of the Commissioners-designate at the European Parliament, September 2019, Fern and several European NGOs issued a joint briefing, Healthy Forests = Equitable livelihoods, inclusive development and a resilient climate, urging the new European Commission to take decisive, effective action against illegal logging through the EU Forests Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. They must adopt bold measures to implement EU goals to tackle deforestation and its impact on people and the climate.
The NGOs – Client Earth, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fern, Forest Peoples Programme and Transparency International – recommend that the new Commissioners:
strengthen implementation of FLEGT, a powerful force for change, by ensuring adequate financial and political support;
support governance in tropical forested countries, using trade and development cooperation as levers;
uphold human rights and gender equality in trade agreements with timber-producing countries, as these are paramount to protecting forests and safeguarding livelihoods;
go beyond existing policies and tools and adopt an ambitious EU Action Plan to Protect Forests and Respect Rights, including both demand- and supply-side measures;
develop binding, enforceable provisions in free trade agreements in order to control deforestation.
Recent fires across the Amazon and Africa show that the new Commission must prioritise tackling the forest crisis. It has its work cut out, but by ensuring that forests can strengthen local livelihoods, and by contributing to the global goals of zero deforestation and limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5° Celsius, they will set a course toward a solution.