On the occasion on International Day of Forests, nine NGOs, including Fern, urged the EU to step up the implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.
The NGOs made their call for the measures contained in the FLEGT Action Plan to be strengthened in a briefing paper that constituted their contribution to the policy debate related to the evaluation of the plan, the review of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the EU’s commitment to halt deforestation and restore degraded forests by 2020.
Adopted in 2003, the FLEGT Action Plan was a ground-breaking attempt by the EU to stem illegal logging and improve forest governance. Many NGOs, both in the EU and producer countries, believe that FLEGT, and particularly the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) that are one of its central planks, remain highly relevant today.
Major reforms in governance have been instigated thanks to the VPAs, leading to reduced demand for illegal timber and increased participation of local NGOs and forest communities in shaping policies that affect them.
Fern considers that the commitments and measures contained in the FLEGT Action Plan should be strengthened and that the EU must demonstrate strong political commitment to implement them through to completion. This includes ensuring full EU-wide implementation and effective enforcement of the EU TR, stronger and more targeted support to the VPAs and emphasis on forest sector contributions to community rights and livelihoods.
The EU should urgently renew its efforts to tackle illegal logging, and address the emerging threats to forests as it considers the future of the FLEGT Action Plan, reviews the EU Timber Regulation and seeks to translate its commitment to halt deforestation and restore degraded forests by 2020 into effective action. Read the full briefing here.
Image: Businga forest in the DRC (Emmanuelle Heuse for Fern)