Brussels – The European Parliament has demanded swift action from the European Commission to cut Europe’s footprint on the world’s forests and its associated impact on climate change, species loss and human rights violations.

Despite commitments by world leaders to tackle climate change and end deforestation by 2020, and an EU pledge to deliver an action plan in the EU’s 2013 7th Environmental Action Plan, the Commission has so far failed to table any concrete measures.

The Parliament highlighted the impact of the production and trade in agricultural and animal products, and the role of the financial sector as major drivers of deforestation.

Greenpeace EU forest policy director Sébastien Risso said: “The Parliament is clear: there’s no excuse for the Commission’s deafening silence on Europe’s response to global deforestation. Deforestation contributes massively to climate change, as well as species loss and human rights abuses, and the EU is clearly part of the problem. Juncker’s team only has a handful of months before next year’s European elections to pull its head out of the sand and table the action plan the Commission has so far failed to deliver.”

The Parliament called for a “meaningful” action plan that includes “regulatory measures to ensure that no supply chains or financial transactions linked to the EU cause deforestation, forest degradation, or human rights violations”, and urged “enhanced financial and technical assistance” to developing countries, “with the specific aim of protecting, maintaining and restoring forests, and enhancing the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities”.

The Parliament also:

  • Called for enhanced action to combat forest crime, in particular illegal logging and the associated timber trade, and pressed the Commission and European governments to fully enforce the EU timber regulation, including through effective checks and dissuasive sanctions;
  • Called on the Commission to include binding provisions in all EU trade and investment agreements,  enforceable through monitoring and sanctions mechanisms, to halt illegal logging, deforestation, forest degradation, land grabbing and other human rights violations;
  • Stressed that the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be aligned with the EU’s international commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and called on the EU to ensure that CAP subsidies are granted only “for sustainable and deforestation-free foodstuffs”, reducing “imports of protein feed crops and livestock”;
  • Called on the EU, European governments and partner countries to ensure the effective protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities against human rights violations driven by agricultural expansion, logging and other activities.

In March 2017, the Commission released a study on the policy options to step up EU action to combat deforestation and forest degradation, although the Commission is yet to announce how it intends to follow up and what action, if any, will be taken.

 

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

 

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU

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.