On 23 July the European Commission (EC) adopted the Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World's Forests. It’s a new ambitious European approach in response to the continued widespread destruction of the world's forests.
Our new investigation conclusively shows that tropical timber across the Solomon Islands is being harvested on an unsustainable scale, and that much of the activity driving this environmental destruction is at high risk of being illegal. If the growing degradation of the Solomon Islands’ tropical forests carries on unchecked, it will have a disastrous and irreparable impact on the country’s environment. The loss of this carbon sink would also have a significant impact on climate change.
How can trade policies promote and support governance reforms in developing countries so that forest resources contribute to sustainable development? A panel discussion on the FLEGT initiative hoped to provide an answer to this question. The session, moderated by Jussi Viitanen, Head of the EU FLEGT and REDD Facilities at the European Forest Institute, took place at the recent WTO Public Forum in Geneva.
According to an African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ The growing involvement of civil society in managing natural resources in the Central African Republic seems to indicate that the country is prepared to go far.
At the International Workshop on China-Africa Sustainable Forest Ecosystem Management, participants from Europe, China and Africa discussed synergies among green finance, China’s engagement in Africa, and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
In a commentary published by Mongabay, ecologist Dan Nepstad underlines that without support to building strong institutions, ‘it may not be possible to further curb tropical deforestation.’ He writes: ‘governments control the biggest levers for influencing the decision that is made every year by millions of people who live in or work in tropical forests–to cut trees or not.’
On 21-23 June 2017, the European Commission met with stakeholders from across the world to discuss future work on tackling deforestation and illegal logging. The meeting, in Brussels, attracted more than 250 representatives from timber producer and consumer countries, private sector and civil society, indigenous and local communities, European Union Member States, and international organisations.
The major threat to tropical forests today comes not from loggers but from large-scale forest clearance to meet rising demand for agricultural commodities. Recognising this, governments and businesses around the world are increasingly pledging to eradicate deforestation from supply chains of such commodities.