FLEGT gaps, opportunities and asks
We welcomed the European Commission’s recognition in the 2003 FLEGT action plan that illegal and unsustainable logging is a serious problem which needs be addressed by the EU.
We believe that the measures set out in the FLEGT Action Plan, if well implemented, can make a significant contribution to combating illegal logging and related trade. We recognise the work that’s being done to implement key measures in the EU FLEGT Action Plan and the preparatory work to ensure effective implementation of the FLEGT and EU Timber Regulations.
However, the results from the fifth round of the Government Barometer show that 17 countries are failing to make adequate progress and the remainder, although making varying levels of progress, are not doing enough.
The results show that the European Member States need to:
- Ensure the effective implementation of the FLEGT Regulation with penalties that are appropriate, proportionate and dissuasive.
- Make legal and sustainable timber and wood product procurement policies a mandatory national requirement for all public bodies.
- Proactively support dialogue between the EC and wood-producing countries with the aim of establishing and implementing voluntary partnership agreements between the EU and key wood-producing countries.
- Work with key timber-consuming governments outside the EU to eliminate the trade in illegal and unsustainable timber and wood products.
- Ensure that any FLEGT voluntary partnership agreement is also based on principles of sustainable and equitable forest management, including support of a representative range of non-state actors and provisions for independent, third party verification of legality in timber-producing countries and credible chain of custody systems.
- ensure implementation of the EU Timber Regulation Ensure appropriate, proportionate and dissuasive penalties are in place.
- Ensure effective coordination between not only the different authorities involved in implementing the regulation but also among other member states.
- Take action with regard to the problems of illegal logging within the EU itself.
A further gap with regards to the commitments in the original action plan is the EU’s failure to tackle the finance sector on the necessary safeguards policies needed for the timber industry. Early discussions focused on the use of money laundering legislation but this does not seem to have progressed. As a minimum, financial institutions should be required to put in place appropriate due diligence procedures before making decisions about investing or lending to projects which affect forests with high conservation value.