Civil society leaders helping to halt the trade in illegal timber and illegal deforestation came to Europe in March 2018 to meet with representatives from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament, and the Belgian, French, German and Dutch governments.
All of the leaders come from organisations helping to implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) to halt illegal logging that make up a key part of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. They wanted to show the impact that EU trade and development policies are having on deforestation and human rights. They also came to ask the EU to support new measures to reduce deforestation, to develop ambitious diplomacy about forests, and to release the European Commission FLEGT workplan. Despite coming from countries as diverse as Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, the Republic of Congo and Vietnam, they have shared goals to reduce deforestation and improve the rights and lives of people that depend on forests.