EU moves slowly towards a pact on illegal logging
October 30, 2008
The E.U. is slowly moving towards curtailing the illegal timber trade through import restrictions, reports Reuters.
Draft proposals wold require importers to verify the origin of timber products to prevent illicit shipments from reaching European markets. Companies failing to do so would face stiff penalties.
Last month Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) “reluctantly” endorsed an international agreement on the tropical timber trade, but the E.U. does not yet have an agreement for member states in place. Some E.U. countries are still voicing opposition to the measures, saying they would hurt importers and burden small businesses with extra costs. Others say an agreement is overdue.
Environmental groups estimate that Europe imports 1.2 billion euros ($1.49 billion) worth of illegal timber per year. According to Reuters, the European commission says that illegal logging costs governments of timber-producing states 10-15 billion euros a year in lost revenue while “19 percent of the timber products used in the EU pulp and paper sector are of illegal origin.” The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates less than 5% of tropical forests are sustainably managed.
EU says emissions trading system may fund forest conservation
(10/17/2008) Europe’s carbon trading scheme may be used to generate funds to fight deforestation, reports Reuters. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said he hoped the EU’s emissions trading scheme could reduce gross tropical deforestation by half by 2020 and eliminate net forest loss by 2030.
Ghana becomes first country to sign sustainable timber pact with the E.U.
(9/4/2008) The European Union has signed a sustainable forestry deal with Ghana that would stop imports of illegally-harvested timber from the West African nation, according to a statement released by the European Forest Institute. The agreement comes under the European Commission’s 2003 Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which seeks to address illicit timber imports. The regulation requires chain-of-custody documentation for timber to be imported into the E.U.