Posted on 07 September 2022
Next week, the European Parliament will vote on its position for a new EU Deforestation law. An ambitious position of the European Parliament would be important to get a new law that stops the deforestation and nature degradation as well as related human rights violations caused by EU consumption of beef, soy, palm oil, rubber, timber, cacao and coffee imports and their derived products.
As part of the #Together4Forests campaign, over 190,000 citizens have called this summer on the European Parliament to fight for a strong law. The NGOs behind the campaign organised a public hand-over of the messages collected to the rapporteur on the file in the European Parliament, Christophe Hansen MEP (EPP, LU), and shadow rapporteurs Delara Burkhardt MEP (S&D, DE) and Nicolae Ștefănuță MEP (RE, RO).
They were also joined by young artists against deforestation - children aged 3 to 11 yo who created an art album for MEPs. The album shows drawings of the nature destruction they have been witnessing as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.
Anke Schulmeister – Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF’s European Policy Office:
“The European Parliament plays an important role in ensuring that a new law on deforestation will lead to real change.The European Parliament has made the first step by proposing a draft report that is ambitious and addresses some of the loopholes that the EU Member States would like to poke into the legal text. 190.000 citizens have called on the Members of the European Parliament to “vote for a strong law”. This can be achieved by voting in favor of the draft report. We are however seeing that there are attempts to weaken the report - this will come at a high cost for the environment and the fight against climate change - and it is clearly not aligned with what voters wish”.
Christophe Hansen MEP (EPP, LU):
“How can we help? I think the help would be to push the member states to vote quickly, because the longer we wait, the longer the disaster that we are facing, from deforestation, will last.”
Delara Burkhardt MEP (S&D, DE):
“Europeans don’t want to contribute to deforestation when they are buying products, this is an obvious thing that you [the #Togehter4Forests movement] put into numbers, and that we as legislators have to act on”.
Nicolae Ștefănuță MEP (RE, RO):
“There is a saying in Romanian: cine are pădure, are aur (who has forest, has gold) - which means the most valuable thing you can have, and I think we should return to that mentality, because it really is the most valuable thing we have and there are no borders separating what we have. It’s not just ours, it belongs to people across borders. You said very well that the Amazon forest is the lungs of the Planet and there is no dissociation.”
Why does this matter?
In order to address the EU footprint, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a new EU deforestation law in November 2021. Early this summer, the position of the EU Member States agreed in Council left the EU Deforestation law with more holes than Swiss cheese. However, MEPs in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee supported a more ambitious text which considers more nature, includes more products, and increases the number of checks for companies, also better protecting the rights of indigenous and local peoples.
Since 2020, through the #Together4Forests campaign led by WWF, 1.2 million citizens, scientists and companies have been asking for a law which ensures that only nature destruction-free products end up on the EU market. Over 50.000 people have sent additional letters to their national ministers earlier this year, and more than 190.000 messages and memes have been sent to Members of the European Parliament during the last two months.
WWF, #Together4Forests activists and young artists are asking MEPs to act on behalf of citizens and vote for:
- The protection of forests and other ecosystems - such as savannahs, peatlands and wetlands - from destruction and degradation by including strong definitions and a broad range of natural ecosystems.
- Respect for internationally recognised human rights, particularly the land use and tenure rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
- A level playing field on the EU market that provides clear, comprehensive and binding rules for all companies and for the finance sector, without any loopholes for rogue players.
- Full traceability and transparency, ensuring that all products are traceable down to the land where they were produced or harvested. This must be based on geolocation, transparent information, reporting about supply chains and risk assessment procedures for all companies.
- A law that is more than just a paper tiger, with stringent and dissuasive penalties, paired with high minimum standards for checks, controls and monitoring, applied to a wide range of products.
For photos and more information, please contact:
Anke Schulmeister – Oldenhove
Senior Forest Policy Officer
+32 485 84 31 44
Communications Officer, Deforestation
+40 728 27 87 37