In October 2022, Fern organised a tour of our partners to meet with Belgian, French, German and UK decision-makers, as well as representatives from the European Commission and the European Parliament.
This network of forests and rights advocates from West and Central Africa, and Southeast Asia all work to improve forest governance in their countries. Each of their regions are experiencing deforestation due to commercial agriculture, illegal logging, mining, and infrastructure development. The root causes for this environmental and social catastrophe lie in poor governance and the limited recognition of forest peoples’ rights and aspirations.
All also come from countries that have either negotiated or are negotiating a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Action Plan (VPA). One of the main issues they discussed with policy makers was how to ensure FLEGT continued despite the introduction of the EU Regulation on deforestation-free products.
This statement summarises their views and recommendations for ensuring that EU forest action has a positive impact in Europe and globally.
Fern supports these demands and believes that tackling deforestation, forest degradation, and the harm done by multiple commodities, must build on key lessons from FLEGT VPAs. In particular, inclusiveness and coordination are crucial to ensuring strong buy-in from all stakeholders and in turn, that buy-in is the key to achieving a positive impact.