Between 2010 and 2015, 7.6 million hectares of
forests were lost every year. Deforestation not only causes immense
biodiversity loss, but it also has extremely negative repercussions on
climate change. Hence, deforestation is one of the world’s most pressing
This online event will discuss the EU Parliament’s new
initiative to tackle deforestation. It will examine the initiative’s
substance, possible implications for fighting deforestation across the
globe, and possible means for enforcement and their challenges, as well
as its impact on EU obligations under international (trade) law.
Research has shown that agricultural production is a
major driver of deforestation. The majority of global tree cover loss
between 2000 and 2015 was caused by agricultural production, and another
quarter was due to forestry activities. Furthermore, a large proportion
of forest clearance occurs in breach of local legal and administrative
requirements. However, only half of the total tropical deforestation
between 2000 and 2012 was caused by illegal conversion. Weak enforcement
of forest laws in certain countries further compounds the problem of
relying on legality as a meaningful threshold to stop conversion for
agricultural purposes, especially where political leaders wilfully
reduce law enforcement and conservation efforts to favour agribusiness.
To tackle these closely intertwined concerns, the EU
is in the process of enhancing its policies on global deforestation
linked to EU imports. In addition to the existent Timber Regulation,
assessing the legality of timber origin, and the Renewable Energy
Directive, establishing sustainability requirements for biofuel crops,
the EU is considering several regulatory and non-regulatory
interventions. Among the most profound measures, the EU Parliament is about to approve a ground-breaking Resolution
that will require the Commission to propose an EU Regulation ensuring
that only agricultural commodities and derived products that are not
linked to deforestation, ecosystem conversion and associated human
rights violations are marketed in the EU. Building on the Timber
Regulation and human rights due diligence responsibilities as prescribed
in the United Nation Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,
the proposal would require economic operators to implement the
obligation via non-financial due diligence ensuring that products do not
originate from converted forests and ecosystems, regardless of the
legality of land-use conversion.
European Parliament’s Rapporteur for a Motion for an EU Parliament
Resolution with recommendations to the Commission on an EU legal
framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation (her draft
report is available here).
Andrea Carta, Senior legal strategist at Greenpeace, EU Unit
Enrico Partiti, Assistant professor in transnational regulation and governance, Tilburg University
Meriam Wortel, Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority
The discussion will be moderated by Antoine Duval, Senior researcher at the Asser Institute and coordinator of the ‘Doing business right’ project.
Click here to register for this online discussion.