Photo of macaws and rainforest to illustrate story about International Forest Day

Call for EU action on International Forest Day

Today is International Forest Day. We want to see the EU do more to reduce illegal logging and the destruction of forests, by strengthening the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.

ClientEarth and eight other groups are today jointly calling for stronger commitments and measures under FLEGT, including full EU-wide implementation and better enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation. We also want to see signed timber trade agreements called VPAs effectively implemented.

Illegal logging is not just where nationally developed laws are broken, but also when international human rights and environmental laws are ignored. Often these have not been properly integrated into national laws, which creates uncertainty over what ‘legal’ logging means – leaving it open to challenge. These broader questions of illegality are set to become increasingly important, in particular when it comes to forest conversion.

Our asks on International Forest Day

ClientEarth, Greenpeace, Conservation International, WWF, Fern, Global Witness, Transparency International, the Forest Peoples Programme and the Environmental Investigation Agency are asking the EU to, among other things:

  1. Demonstrate strong political commitment to the effective implementation of the VPAs and strengthen their impact, including through addressing governance, integrity and sustainability challenges.
  2. Ensure the EUTR is strictly and effectively enforced, its product scope extended to all wood-based products, and green timber procurement policies are increasingly taken up.

ClientEarth Senior Lawyer Emily Unwin said “The EU has been an important leader in matters of forest protection. For this to continue, efforts to make the most of existing laws and policies, including the VPAs and EUTR, must be redoubled. Effective mechanisms are also needed to ensure that the commodities the EU consumes – such as palm oil and soya – do not drive deforestation. Such mechanisms must ensure that these commodities are produced in accordance with national laws.”

Read our asks in full: Tackling illegal logging, deforestation and forest degradation: an agenda for EU action

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