WWF criticizes EC deforestation plans


Source: WWF UK

European Commission plans to halve rather than halt tropical deforestation by 2020 have been sharply criticized by WWF today. The European Commission's communication on reducing emissions from deforestation and a legislative proposal to tackle the problem of illegal logging are unlikely to meet their intended objectives of halting deforestation and eliminating the trade of illegal wood, according to the global conservation organization.

At the Convention on Biological Diversity, last May in Bonn, representatives of more than 60 countries signed up to a WWF commitment to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. WWF urges the European Union to maintain this target.

“The EU has finally recognised the need for legislation to address the trade in products from illegally sourced timber,” said Anke Schulmeister, Forest Policy Officer at WWF. “However, the draft proposal presented today does not have the teeth needed to seriously clamp down on this trade.” says Anke Schulmeister, Forest Policy Officer at WWF.

Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and illegal logging is one of the major causes. Every year about 27 million cubic meters of illegal timber enter the EU.

Today’s proposal does not bind companies all along the supply chain to provide credible assurances that their timber is legally sourced. It also does not clearly specify whether source country laws, such as those protecting land tenure rights of local peoples, need to be covered by these assurances.

WWF calls the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to move rapidly to strengthen the proposal so that, as soon as possible, legislation is in place to effectively stop the trade of illegal wood and paper products.

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