EU agrees on new measures for anti-deforestation laws
The European Parliament has voted to introduce new requirements on deforestation-free products to respect the rights of indigenous peoples while increasing the number of products now covered by this ruling.
The Parliament voted this week on improving draft legislative requirements on deforestation-free products, updating the European Commission’s original proposal, which was presented in November last year.
Lawmakers have agreed to increase the list of commodities which now have to prove they were sourced without causing deforestation to pig, sheep and goats, poultry, maize and rubber, charcoal and printed paper products. The original list also included cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya and wood, all of which remain on the updated legislation.
Under the new amendments, companies selling those goods in the EU will need to prove that they were not produced while contributing to deforestation and with respect to the human rights of indigenous peoples.
It will now make it possible for indigenous peoples and local communities on the frontline of areas at risk of deforestation to bring forward evidence of any cases of non-compliance with the new rulings.
While the decision has been widely welcomed, some green groups have branded a decision not to include a new remediation fund to assist local communities as “disappointing”.
Michael Rice, ClientEarth lawyer, said: “The outcome of today’s vote is a big victory. MEPs were under heavy pressure to weaken the obligations on companies whose products are destroying the world’s forests and harming the communities that rely on them. Thankfully, they listened instead to the call of millions of citizens across the EU that say ‘no more’ to global deforestation.”
A delegation of MEPs will now take the Parliament’s position to negotiations with the EU Member States, who agreed a range of changes in the EU Council in June to significantly weaken key elements of the proposed law.
A recent poll showed 80% of EU citizens from all political affiliations and age groups support a strong EU law to prevent companies selling products linked to the destruction of forests.
Many of these problems exist across the globe, however. The Amazon rainforest, for example, is facing a “tipping point crisis” as deforestation, degradation and the lack of protection for indigenous people look set to threaten one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, according to a new report warning that action must start now to protect it.
Produced by scientists with the Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-environmental Information (RAISG), in collaboration with the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), a landmark new study has revealed that deforestation and degradation have wrecked 26% of the Amazonia region.
With deforestation levels in the region reaching record levels, the new research calls on policymakers to support and implement the “80×25” goal to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025.
One of the key aspects of the 80×25 goal is to expand indigenous rights in order to help mitigate the climate crisis and biodiversity collapse. Between 2015 and 2019, 232 indigenous community leaders were killed in the region due to disputes over land and natural resources and that this is failing to be reflected in global frameworks.
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