Has the EU cut illegal logging? Politicians, business and NGOs have their say

For the last ten years, the European Union (EU) has been working to reduce illegal logging. But has it been effective?

This is what representatives of EU institutions, EU timber companies and European, African, Central America and Asian NGOs discussed this month in Brussels. The conference, entitled ‘Guardians of the forests? 10 years of EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade’, focused on legality and justice in the timber sector.

ClientEarth was present to listen and take part in the dialogue as part of its work on two flagship EU policies to reduce illegal logging: Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with timber exporting countries in Central and West Africa and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

The meeting addressed the many causes of deforestation: land use change due to biofuels; lack of legal enforcement and lack of independent complaint mechanisms when laws are breached; and gave voice to different opinions. Among these, the slow VPA process; the consequences of the EUTR coming into force in March 2013; the financial resources for the UN emissions reduction (REDD) mechanism; and whether they constitute an opportunity or a barrier to change.

Click here to watch the conference.

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