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EU unveils Action Plan on deforestation

On 23 July 2019, the European Commission adopted a Communication setting out a new framework of actions including an assessment of possible new regulatory measures to address deforestation. Deforestation is associated with commodities such as soy, palm oil, cocoa or meat, of which the EU is a top importer.

NGOs have welcomed the announcement, but are calling on the Commission to ensure equal attention is paid to human rights in the development of any law regulating supply chains to minimise the risk of deforestation. 

More information is available below.

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25 July 2019

EU moves to tackle deforestation caused by chocolate and other products

Author: Ruth Maclean, The Guardian

The EU has taken a “pivotal step” towards addressing the deforestation caused by its consumption of soy, chocolate, meat and other products, environmental campaigners have said.

The EU said this week it had set out a new plan to protect and restore the world’s forests, which involves working with governments to promote better use of land and resources, managing supply chains, and carrying out research. A possible new regulation to “minimise the impact of EU consumption on deforestation and forest degradation” will also be assessed under the plan...

Frans Timmermans, [Ursula von der Leyen, the new EU commission president's] deputy, said: “We will not meet our climate targets without protecting the world’s forests. The EU does not host the world’s major primary forests on its territory, but our actions as individuals and our policy choices have a major impact.” ...

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24 July 2019

Commission steps up EU action to protect and restore the world's forests

Author: European Commission

Today the European Commission adopted a comprehensive Communication setting out a new framework of actions to protect and restore the world's forests, which host 80% of biodiversity on land, support the livelihoods of around a quarter of the world's population, and are vital to our efforts to fight climate change.

The reinforced approach announced today addresses both the supply and demand side of the issue. It introduces measures for enhanced international cooperation with stakeholders and Member States, promotion of sustainable finance, better use of land and resources, sustainable job creation and supply chain management, and targeted research and data collection. It also launches an assessment of possible new regulatory measures to minimise the impact of EU consumption on deforestation and forest degradation...

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23 July 2019

Pressure mounts on President-elect as EU Commission opens door to regulating supply chains to tackle deforestation

Author: Fern

The EU has opened the door to regulating supply chains to minimise the risk of deforestation associated with commodity imports to the EU. Fern welcomes this long-awaited move with cautious optimism and looks forward to working with the next European Commission on developing such a regulation, provided it pays equal attention to human rights...

The Commission has finally opened the door to regulating the EU’s imports of commodities like palm oil, beef, soy and cocoa, which are the main drivers of worldwide deforestation and heavily associated with human rights abuses...

Our message today is to Ursula von der Leyen: we desperately need new laws that require companies to demonstrate that goods they put on the EU market are not tainted with deforestation or human rights abuses, said Hannah Mowat, campaigns coordinator at forests and rights NGO, Fern.

Eighty per cent of global forest loss is due to the conversion of forest to crops and pasture. Agricultural deforestation happens because of increased global demand for agricultural commodities, notably due to the EU’s demand, national policies that aim to meet and stimulate that demand, and trade and finance policies that facilitate their sale and transport...

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