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ClientEarth Communications

16th June 2021

EU China Environment Project
Forests & trade

EU and China environmental cooperation initiative reaches milestone in tackling deforestation

The EU-China Environmental Project has reached a new milestone in efforts to address deforestation after the highest number of policy experts to date attended a workshop co-hosted by ClientEarth.

The event on confronting global deforestation and green supply chains, held on the 18th of May in Beijing as part of the project, featured the strongest ever presence of the Chinese government, with over 50 attendees participating overall.

Dimitri de Boer, ClientEarth’s China Representative, said of the event: “The importance of international cooperation to tackle deforestation cannot be understated. The active participation from decision makers in China and the EU in developing progressive policies that help defend the planet’s vital ecosystems is an encouraging step in environmental protection efforts.”

Both the EU and China are undertaking important measures to address global commodity-driven deforestation.

In 2019, the European Commission published the “EU Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World's Forests”, setting out a basic framework to protect and increase forest coverage worldwide and minimise the impacts of EU consumption on the world’s forests. The same year, Chinese legislators revised the country’s Forestry Law to tighten logging controls and improve governance.

Sebastian Paquot, the head of section for Climate and Environment of the EU delegation to China, told attendees that confronting deforestation meant promoting cooperation between industry and citizens, as well as governments – demanding every side take action.

He said: “We currently have an unparalleled window of opportunity with the two COP meetings coming up, and it is an excellent chance to call more countries to action.

“In spite of there being different interests and points of view, deforestation is a common challenge we all face, and only by uniting can we truly reach the goal of zero deforestation.”

Representatives from the National Forestry and the Ministry of the Ecology and Environment (MEE) discussed development of greening China’s supply chains and reflected on the 2019 revisions to the country’s forestry legislation, which marked the first revision of the law in over twenty years.

Officials from the Grassland Administration and Ministry of Commerce also attended the workshop, along with researchers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

They heard a presentation from consultant Isabel Nepstad on the EU-China Environment Project report “Global Deforestation and Greening Commodity Supply Chains – Best Practices for Chinese Supply Chain Actors”.

The EU–China Environment Project, established in 2018 and funded by the EU, is implemented by ClientEarth, alongside GOPA and the Policy Research Centre for Environment and Economy of the MEE.

It supports cooperation between the EU and China on environmental policy, and aims to improve environmental protection standards and increase integration between the EU and China on environmental governance.