On 30 March 2015, Fern and Yannick Jadot and Catherine Bearder, MEPs from major European political parties co-hosted a conference “Protecting Forests, Respecting Rights: Policy Options for EU Action on Deforestation.”
The conference helped define how the EU should set about its task of halting the EU’s part in global deforestation. Prominent speakers included experts from the Ford Foundation (David Kaimowitz); the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Olivier de Schutter); Cargill (Ruth Rawling); SDI Liberia (Silas Siakor); and the Trans-National Institute (Susan George).
Key quotes from the event were live-tweeted on Twitter using #EUDrivers. Examples included Oliver de Schutter's assertion that WTO rules should not be used as pretext to block shift towards sustainable trade; Silas Siakor's warning that if there is no appetite for regulation, deforestation will continue unabated; and David Kaimowitz's memorable statement that "Supermarkets have been converted into crime scenes [agriculture] is not just unsustainable it is patently illegal."
The event also saw the launch of a series of reports, addressed to the relevant EU Directorates General (DG), detailing policy options that should be included in an EU Action Plan to tackle the drivers of deforestation. This month’s ForestWatch is devoted to introducing each report and explaining why action in that policy area is needed.