Fern welcomes a new report from the European Parliament (EP) on “natural resource management, the case of forests”. Championed by the EP’s Vice President Heidi Hautala and members of its Development Committee, the report is a wakeup call to the EU that it has a key responsibility to deliver policies that protect tropical forests, halt illegal logging, and strengthen livelihoods, particularly for women. The report echoes Fern and the NGO community’s calls for a holistic EU Action Plan to Protect Forests and Protect Rights, and for faster progress on implementing the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements. Stronger leadership and support is needed from the Commission and EU Member States to end tropical deforestation and support governance reforms.
Fern’s Campaigns Coordinator Hannah Mowat, said “the message to EU leaders is simple - we must stop ignoring the forest crisis in the world’s most vulnerable places. This report calls on the EU to support forest peoples, stop deforestation, step up the fight against illegal logging, and sign trade agreements that work for forests and forest people, a strong message in both the EU and the global South.”
“Forests need to be at the heart of climate action and can have the dual benefit of protecting and improving community livelihoods. EU policies need to become more transparent, ambitious and responsible”, said Vũ Thi Bích Hợp from the Centre for Rural Development (SRD) in Vietnam. “Sometimes the more difficult reforms can have profound impacts, and that is what we urgently need to see in Europe, as well as in countries like mine which are about to sign VPAs”, she added.
Note to the editors:
Despite decades of awareness raising and a diverse cocktail of policy measures, illegal logging is on the rise again. Increased demand for timber in Asia and the conversion of forests to agriculture and other land uses are responsible for as much as half of tropical timber, most of which is illegal. Such activity causes environmental and social havoc in vulnerable countries, thrashing the livelihoods of the millions of people and communities that heavily depend on forests.
The NGO Forest Manifesto details what political groups, candidates for the European elections and EU leaders can do to protect and restore forests: www.fern.org/EUForestManifesto