Comment now: Four EU public consultations relevant to forests

March 10, 2016

Public consultations are important for incorporating public input into EU policymaking. Currently four consultations relevant to forests are underway, and Fern encourages ForestWatch readers to register their views.

1. Consultation on the evaluation of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR); open until 3 July

The EUTR, prohibiting illegally harvested timber from being placed on the EU market, entered into force two years ago. The European Commission is asking how well the regulation is being implemented. The EUTR forms one of the elements of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. NGOs recently exposed a number of high-profile cases of illegal wood entering the EU, highlighting that there is still much to do to ensure proper enforcement. Parts of the industry, including operators in VPA partner countries, have called for greater clarity and stronger guidance in satisfying the requirements of the regulation. Proper implementation of the EUTR is key to providing an incentive to reducing illegal logging and improving forest governance.

For more information, contact Emily Unwin, Client Earth.

2. Consultation on addressing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) in the context of the 2030 EU climate and energy framework; open until 18 June

In October 2014, EU leaders agreed on a greenhouse gas emissions’ reduction target of 40 per cent by 2030. The EU has confirmed that this target also covers the land and forests sectors, despite strong arguments for treating these sectors separately from fossil fuels. Inclusion of forests and land in the same greenhouse gas target will lead to backsliding on the EU’s 40 per cent commitment since forests and land are a sink. There is also a danger that emissions from agriculture could be let off the hook if they are removed from the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD), something US Economist Jeremy Rifkin has also recently warned against. The public consultation provides the opportunity for these issues to be heard.

For more information, contact Hannah Mowat, Fern.

3. Consultation on the EU’s Effort Sharing Decisionopen until 18 June

The ESD sets greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for each Member State for the sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System such as road transport, heating of buildings, small-scale industry and non-CO2emissions from agriculture and waste. One sector the ESD does not include is emissions or removals from the land and forest sectors (see above) and it is important it stays that way as their inclusion would weaken the target.

For more information, contact Femke DeJong, Carbon Market Watch

4. EU nature legislation ‘fitness check’ consultation; open until 24 July

The EU Birds and Habitats directives, two of the EU’s oldest pieces of nature legislation are currently undergoing a ‘fitness check’, an assessment intended to determine whether they are able to achieve their intended goals and are doing so efficiently. Though many things could be improved about these pieces of legislation, where they have been implemented, they have proven crucial to protecting nature in the interest of many. It is important we send a strong message that we will not accept weakening EU laws to protect nature and biodiversity.

For more information, contact Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe.