As the European Commission begins work on issues to be addressed in its 2016 work programme, pressure is building for EU action to rein in EU consumption of agricultural products grown on deforested land. A number of EU Member States have indicated that they would support the EU in taking action to tackle deforestation. Responding to oral and written questions posed by national MPs, Environment Ministers from the UK, France, Belgium and Germany say that they recognise the impact their country’s consumption has on forests and forest peoples, and believe that action must be taken.
The European Parliament has also called on the European Commission to develop an Action Plan on Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The previous Commission assessment shows that, between 1990 - 2008, the EU was the largest importer of products linked to deforestation. Fern data reveals that much of this embedded deforestation is not only unsustainable, it is also illegal.
Given the data, and the support of Member States and the Parliament for EU action on deforestation, the European Commission should include the development of EU action on illegal forest products in its work programme for 2016. To watch highlights of Fern’s conference on how the EU can protect forests and respect rights visit www.fern.org/protecingforestshighlights. To hear some of the participants' thoughts on what the EU should do visit www.fern.org/whatshouldEUdo.