The Rainforest Alliance has issued a response to the recent EU commitment to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, saying it particularly welcomed the exploration of further regulatory measures on imported deforestation, establishment of a new multi-stakeholder platform on deforestation and forest degradation and the focus on partnering with producer countries to scale up improved land governance.
The European Commission, one of the most active consumer zones in the world responsible for about 10% of the global impact on tropical forests, says it is on the right track to halt deforestation through political, financial, and technical support for tropical forested countries. “This is not somebody else’s problem,” is stated in the communique.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: “Forests are the green lungs of our planet, and we must care for them in the same way we care for our own lungs. We will not meet our climate targets without protecting the world's forests. The EU does not host the world's major primary forests on its territory, but our actions as individuals and our policy choices have a major impact. Today we send an important signal to our citizens and to our partners around the world that the EU is prepared to play a leadership role in this area in the next five years, and beyond."
The Communication outlines five priorities with a comprehensive set of actions.
- Reduce the EU consumption footprint on land and encourage the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU
- Work in partnership with producing countries to reduce pressures on forests and to “deforest-proof” EU development cooperation
- Strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and encourage forest restoration
- Redirect finance to support more sustainable land-use practices
- Support the availability of, quality of, and access to information on forests and commodity supply chains, and support research and innovation
As an NGO stakeholder, and host of one of the largest certification systems, the Rainforest Alliance welcomed the framework for increased transparency on voluntary commitments, saying, “It is now up to the new Commission to make sure this momentum is realized”.
The Rainforest Alliance also called for strengthened traceability and transparency.
“This is an important step, but it is only one step towards the comprehensive action we need to see,” said Han de Groot, CEO of the Rainforest Alliance. “The EU must energize and empower its constituents to translate these commitments into concrete action. No less than the fate of the world’s forests is at stake.”