Brussels – Seven European governments have ramped up pressure on the European Commission to deliver a long-awaited action plan by the end of the year to tackle global deforestation.

Deforestation from agricultural expansion in the Matopiba region of Brazil

The letter is dated 1 November and signed by Danish environment minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on behalf of the Amsterdam Declarations partnership, which includes Denmark, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. It calls on the Commission to release, “as soon as possible, a roadmap for the development, in the course of 2018, of an ambitious EU action plan on deforestation and forest degradation.”

The letter follows a similar call by the European Parliament in September, which demanded an action plan with regulation to tackle the EU’s forest footprint. The Parliament highlighted the impact of the production and trade in animal and agricultural products – like beef or soy for animal feed – and the role of the financial sector as drivers of deforestation.

Greenpeace EU forest policy director Sébastien Risso said: “With every week that passes, the world is moving deeper into a major global species extinction and closer to devastating climate change. Strong measures to tackle Europe’s footprint on the world’s forests can play a major role in tackling these challenges. The European Commission should stop sitting on its hands and address these issues head on.”

A Commission-funded study released in March recognised that “the EU is clearly part of the problem of global deforestation” and laid out policy options, including new laws, that could form the basis of the future action plan.

Greenpeace calls for the plan to include comprehensive measures to eliminate the EU’s impact on forests and to support global efforts to protect and restore them. It should contain new laws ensuring that neither products placed on the EU market, nor the financial sector, cause environmental and social impacts like deforestation, forest degradation or human rights violations. It should also include policy proposals to help reduce Europe’s overconsumption of meat and dairy products, which is a driver of deforestation.

Deforestation and forest degradation have a major impact on the climate and species extinction, and are often associated with human rights abuses.

With European elections looming in 2019 and the deadline of a global commitment to halt deforestation by 2020 quickly approaching, time is running out for the EU to play its part.

 

Contacts:

Sébastien Risso – Greenpeace EU forest policy director: +32 (0)496 127009, sebastien.risso@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, pressdesk.eu@greenpeace.org

 

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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.