On August 29, twenty-six NGOs, have sent an open letter to European leaders urging them to end European complicity in the fires raging in the Amazon.
NGOs believe the EU can act decisively in two ways.
1. Suspend ratification of the Free Trade Agreement
Within this Free Trade Agreement, Brazil pledged to uphold its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
The current deforestation crisis contravenes the stated aims of the Paris Agreement. It is therefore a matter of urgency for the EU to formally suspend the ratification process, as a number of EU leaders have called for. It should contain strong and binding safeguards that will ensure that forests are protected, and Indigenous and traditional communities’ rights respected.
2. Prepare legislation which will ensure companies and the finance sector do due diligence to guarantee that products placed on the EU market and investments have not led to recent forest degradation or deforestation or caused human rights abuses
It has become apparent that the provisions within the existing Free Trade Agreements, including with Mercosur countries, are not strong enough to hold trading partners to account for their environmental and human rights performance, especially when reckless administrations take hold.
A recent poll showed that 87% of Europeans support new laws to ensure that the food they eat and the products they buy don’t drive global deforestation. European citizens will not continue to allow further destruction of the forests we all depend on to stabilise our climate, maintain rainfall, nurture biodiversity and protect the world’s poorest people.
On the 23rd of July, the European Commission issued a Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests. Within this Communication, the EU commits to: “assess(ing) additional demand side regulatory…measures to ensure a level playing field…in order to increase supply chain transparency and minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with commodity imports in the EU”
NGOs ask to recipients to instruct the European Commission to work on such legislation with immediate effect.