UNEP-WCMC reports on EUTR implementation

The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has published its latest briefing note on the implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), which covers the period December 2019 to January 2020.

The briefing reports on the 26th FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group meeting, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 12 December 2019.  At the meeting, the European Commission (EC) noted the adoption of their Communication on the European Green Deal. On Myanmar, the Group upheld previous conclusions that applicable legislation is not fully accessible for EU operators, which cannot exercise due diligence for wood harvested in this country. Participants also discussed Competent Authorities’ checks on imports from Brazil, and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes with Indonesia and Viet Nam. 

The briefing highlights China’s revision of its Forest Law to ban the buying, processing or transporting of illegally sourced timber.

Other news on implementation and enforcement include: the commissioning by the EC of a ‘Study on certification and verification schemes in the forest sector and for wood-based products’; the release of the 5th report on checks performed by EUTR Competent Authorities; a review of enforcement of the EUTR carried out by WWF; and updates on enforcement activities by Competent Authorities in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

On illegal logging and timber trade, the briefing highlights: EU demand for oak flooring linked to illegal logging and corruption in Ukraine; an investigation of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) into trafficking of rosewood in Zambia; a report on illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso, Brazil; and an Earthsight investigation into high-risk timber trade focused on companies in Peru and the United States.

Among legislation and policy updates, the briefing mentions the adoption by the European Council of conclusions on the Communication on Stepping Up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests. It also points to the release of the Indonesia and EU 2018 annual report on VPA progress, and of the Republic of Congo and EU 2018 annual report on VPA progress. The briefing further highlights the Brazilian’s Government plan to regularise cleared land. 

The Briefing closes with a list of other news, resources and publications.

The briefing note was compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission in close cooperation with the Member States’ Competent Authorities.