The new EU multi-annual financial framework: What’s in it for tropical forests and local livelihoods?

November 29, 2018

Community based forestry can help countries and local communities to manage forests sustainably and equitably in tropical countries. But will the new EU multi-annual financial framework be fit for the challenge?

In May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals on the EU budget 2021-2027, also known as  the multi-annual financial framework (MFF). The proposed new budget signals a higher level of ambition on climate and environmental action. However, it is difficult to anticipate whether funds earmarked for aid will bring additional development and climate benefits through support to tropical forests and local livelihoods.

On 29 November Fern and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), held an event to discuss the impact of the new EU budget on the EU’s commitment to protect forest and local communities’ livelihoods. 

It was hosted by:

  • Heidi Hautala, Vice President of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats

Participants included her Excellency Rosalie Matondo, Minister for Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo, the European Commission, GIZ, and experts from civil society.

See the webstream of the event here:

The event intended to strengthen dialogue between the EU and forested countries on stepping up efforts to support community based forest management in the context of increasing deforestation, climate change, and persistent forest governance challenges.

Participants identified key recommendations for EU policy makers, notably ensuring that the MFF provides adequate support to existing forest policies such as the FLEGT Action Plan and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). They also looked at new measures to tackle deforestation led by unsustainable consumption. There was a pressing call on the need to give a chance to new community forestry models including supporting to the Brazzaville roadmap on participatory forestry for the Congo Basin.

The event included the following presentations:

An introduction and overview of the day: Opening Remarks - Rodrigo de Lapuerta Montoya, Director of the FAO Liaison office to the European Union and Belgium

Session 1: What vision for forests and for community based forest regimes?

- The EU’s vision in the context of evolving funding priorities – Chantal Marijnissen, Head of unit for Environment, Natural Resources and Water, DG DEVCO, European Commission

- The Bonn challenge: bringing back to life deforested and degraded land with communities? - Herbert Christ, Head, International Forest Policy Programme and International Forest Governance Initiatives, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

- The ‘Brazzaville roadmap’: a chance for forests and forest peoples in the Congo Basin - Keynote from Her Excellency Rosalie Matondo, Minister for Forest Economy, Republic of Congo

Screening of a short film on the opportunities, challenges and new vision for Community-based forestry, by Fern and Southern NGOs:

Session 2: What have we learnt so far regimes and how do we move forward to protect forests and strengthen livelihoods? 

- What worked and what did not work: experiences from Asia and Africa - Claude Nguinguiri, Forest Officer, Participatory Forestry, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

- Community forest enterprises in Democratic Republic of Congo: The implementation and the role of the EU - Henk Hoefsloot, Programme Coordinator, Tropenbos International

- Findings from Fern report: 'Bringing community based forest regimes to the next level: the case of community forestry' – Emeric Billard, Independent Researcher

- Supporting sustainable social forestry: What can we learn from the Fair Trade label movement? - Fabienne Yver, Project Coordinator, Fair Trade Advocacy Office

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