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EU Deforestation Law Weak In Inclusive Implementation

Tropenbos International, an environmental non-governmental organisation, has welcomed the European Union (EU) Deforestation Law calling it a “historic agreement.”

Noting the law as the first in the world that takes significant steps to tackle deforestation, Tropenbos however acknowledged that it would require “ambitious accompanying measures and partnerships” to make a true transition on the ground.

“A missed opportunity is the lack of recognition for the need of inclusive implementation of the Regulation in smallholder-intensive sectors, as prerequisite for a future-proof and fair regulatory framework that can effectively reduce global deforestation,” Tropenbos pointed.

“With the entry into force of the Regulation on the horizon, it becomes now even more important that the Regulation can be practically implemented and that this leads to a true transition on the ground. This also means that the realities and needs of smallholders and forest communities must be considered.”

It also identified among the Regulation’s weaknesses “the lack of clear recognition of human rights, particularly of indigenous peoples and local communities.”

The EU Regulation on deforestation sets mandatory due diligence rules for all operators and traders who place, make available or export commodities into the EU market, including palm oil, beef, timber, coffee, cocoa, rubber and soy.

Per the law, companies must produce a due diligence statement showing that their supply chains are not contributing to the destruction of forests, before they can place their products on the EU market.

The international forests management and governance organisation saw as an important additional step the fact that the Regulation gives impetus to the protection of forests around the world and thus would inspire other countries to do so as well.

For this reason, Tropenbos International strongly advocated for the EU to explore “further opportunities to raise the Law’s ambition; by extending its scope to other commodities, ecosystems beyond forests and to the financial sector.”

It reiterated the consistent call by experts for partnerships with commodity export countries to ensure a seamless transition to sustainable landscapes and value chains.

“Now comes the real effort to build a smart mix of measures. Partnerships with producing countries are an essential component when implementing the Regulation, for it to become truly impactful on the ground.

Accompanying landscape-wide measures are needed to tackle underlying drivers of deforestation that cause deforestation and obstruct a transition towards sustainable land use.”

Tropenbos International called for support measures and positive incentives as essential to help smallholders and forest communities to transition to sustainable production.

It pledged to continuously support local communities and other landscape actors in their transition to promote sustainable use of forests and trees in climate-smart landscapes in the tropics in support of inclusive sustainable development.

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