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 June to September 2020.

The briefing reports on the 28th FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group meeting, which took place virtually in June 2020. The meeting included updates by the European Commission on progress towards implementing the Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World's Forests, the Fitness Check of the EUTR and FLEGT Regulation and the implementation and enforcement of the EUTR during the current COVID-19 situation.

UNEP-WCMC presented on the 2017–2019 EUTR analysis report and the FLEGT report for 2018. The Expert Group upheld previous conclusions on Brazil and Myanmar, decided to re-develop a draft guidance document for Ukraine into conclusions and decided to prepare conclusions for Myanmar.

Participants also heard updates on imports by Denmark and Belgium from Brazil, support to EU Member States by OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) with two ongoing EUTR cases related to Ukraine and Myanmar and on FLEGT VPAs with Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.

The briefing opens with a report on the results of an investigation published by the environmental NGO Earthsight in June 2020, which indicate the occurrence of illegal logging in the Ukrainian Carpathians, under the purview of a state forestry enterprise.

Other news on implementation and enforcement include the launch by the Commission of two open public consultations on the EUTR and FLEGT Regulation Fitness Check and on the Deforestation and Forest Products Impact Assessment, and the adoption by the Commission of various implementation and enforcement publications.

The briefing also highlights the publication by the Commission of country overviews for Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Malaysia, as well as a notice to stakeholders on withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. 

On illegal logging and timber trade, the briefing highlights the publication by the Environmental Investigation Agency of an investigation into West African rosewood trafficking, the revocation by Indonesia of the SVLK licence of a major sawmill following an investigation, an analysis by Greenpeace that implicates Asia Pulp and Paper in breach of peatland protection commitments and the filing of a lawsuit by a regional organisation of Indigenous Peoples against the Peruvian Government over re-opening logging during COVID-19.

Among legislation and policy updates, the briefing mentions the entrance into force of China’s revised Forest Law, the adoption by the Republic of the Congo of a new forest code, and the call by the European Parliament for an EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation.

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.