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 February to May 2020.

The briefing reports on the 27th FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group meeting, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 19 February 2020. At the meeting, the European Commission (EC) outlined its actions to establish a Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World's Forests. UNEP-WCMC presented on the FLEGT annual report for 2018. 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. 

The briefing highlights the relaxing by Brazil of its timber export regulations.

Other news on implementation and enforcement include: the confirmation by the EC that the EUTR legislative framework does not foresee derogations that could be invoked to respond to the COVID-19 crisis; a formal notice sent by the EC to Romania urging proper implementation of the EUTR; and updates on enforcement activities by Competent Authorities in Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Sweden.

On illegal logging and timber trade, the briefing highlights: a rise in deforestation and illegal logging in Brazil; an Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report revealing attempts by some EU importers to avoid EUTR enforcement by importing illicit teak from Myanmar through a Croatian company; independent forest monitoring reports alleging two cases of illegal logging in Cameroon; and an assessment by the civil society organisation IDEF of some legality documents required for any logging activity in Côte d’Ivoire’s rural domain. 

Among legislation and policy updates, the briefing mentions: the revocation by Indonesia of plans to relax the need for export licences attesting to the legality of its timber shipments to non-EU markets; an independent study indicating that civil society regards the VPA process in the Republic of the Congo as an integral part of achieving forest governance improvements; and a report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), supported by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, assessing impacts of the VPA process in Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia.

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.