On 7 December, the European Commission released a mid-term review of the EU forest strategy, stating that it was “on track” to achieve its 2020 aims. Given that this review will form the basis of the next Forest Multi-Annual Workplan for the period 2018-20, Fern wishes to communicate that they are disappointed with the review and find the overarching conclusion to be unfounded.
Fern calls on the European Commission to urgently step up action
Given the continued, dramatic loss of tropical forests and the steady decline of biodiversity in EU Forests, the mid-term review lacks perspective and does not reflect the urgency required to reach global commitments on forests.
Given the well-documented role that EU finance, trade and consumption plays in driving deforestation and forest degradation, inside EU borders and beyond, the EU must:
- Promote an EU Action Plan to Protect Forests and Respect Rights which includes new laws to ensure that products placed on the EU market, or supported by the EU financial sector, do not cause negative environmental and social impacts like deforestation, forest degradation or human rights abuses.
- Promote support for forest protection and restoration in the EU 2050 Long Term Climate Strategy, to keep the increase in global temperatures below 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
- Support effective implementation of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, specifically Voluntary Partnership Agreements, and support increased implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation – a strong tool for stopping the trade in illegal timber.
- Support a sustainable bioenergy policy within EU renewable energy and climate policies. This would include ending subsidies for burning forest biomass and crop-based biofuels.
- Promote policies that move away from our dietary dependence on meat and remove subsidies in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for intensive animal production. Incentivise extensive animal production and long-term crop rotation with leguminous crops as a compulsory element of conditionality while prohibiting any crop production including protein crops in ecological focus areas.