Indigenous leaders and human rights activists from Liberia, Indonesia, Ghana, Colombia and Democratic Republic of Congo came to Brussels 29 June 2018 to deliver a petition. Signed by 164,000 people, the petition urges European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to address the impacts of EU’s imports of agricultural commodities driving deforestation, such as soy, beef, palm oil and cocoa, and to uphold the EU’s international commitment to halt deforestation by 2020.
The delegates met with representatives from Commission Directorates-General for International Cooperation and Development, Trade, Energy, Climate, Environment and the External Action Service; they also held a mini action in front of the Commission building.
The visiting leaders and activists are all from countries affected by agricultural deforestation. They called for action that guarantees their land security and ensures that EU supply chains are free from deforestation and violations of human rights.
Their visit came shortly after the publication of “Getting the bads out of goods,” a Fern/Forest Trends report which reveals that corporate commitments will not be enough to halt agricultural deforestation: only consumer-country regulation and international cooperation will have a significant impact.
The EU is the natural starting point for regulation, NGOs argue, because it imports huge quantities of agricultural commodities, and it could trigger an effect globally. By coming up with an Action Plan, Europe would also show that it is serious about its international commitments to halt deforestation by 2020 and is willing to be a leader.