Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market – also known as the EU Timber Regulation or EUTR counters the trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products through three key obligations:
Once on the market, the timber and timber products may be sold and/or transformed before they reach the final consumer. To facilitate the traceability of timber products, economic operators in this part of the supply chain (referred to as traders in the regulation) have an obligation to
The Regulation entered into application on 3 March 2013.
A summary explaining the EU Timber Regulation is available here in all EU languages.
The core of the 'due diligence' notion is that operators undertake a risk management exercise so as to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber, on the EU market.
The three key elements of the "due diligence system" are:
The Regulation covers a broad range of timber products including solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper. Not included are recycled products, as well as printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers. The product scope can be amended if necessary.
The Regulation applies to both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products.
The Regulation is legally binding on all 27 EU Member States, which are responsible for laying down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties and for enforcing the Regulation.
Article 20 of the EU Timber Regulation stipulates that Member States shall submit to the Commission, every second year, a report on the application of this Regulation during the previous two years and that, on the basis of those reports, the Commission shall draw up a report to be submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council every two years. As of 2020 the reporting period was shortened to one year, in line with Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 of 5 June 2019 on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment Moreover, Article 20 stipulates that, by 3 December 2015 and every 6 years thereafter, the Commission shall, on the basis of the reporting and the experience with the application of the EU Timber Regulation, review the functioning and effectiveness of this Regulation.
A Fitness Check of the EUTR and the FLEGT Regulation was performed in 2021 to evaluate the implementation and functioning of these two instruments and to assess whether they were fit for purpose to halt illegal logging and related trade.
One of the commitments in the EU Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests was to ‘establish a Platform for multi-stakeholder and Member State dialogue on deforestation, forest degradation and on sustainably increasing world’s forest cover to provide a forum to foster exchanges with and among stakeholders in order to build alliances, push for and share commitments to significantly reduce deforestation, and share experiences and information’.
Given the synergies between the work on EUTR/FLEGT and the follow-up work on the Communication, the Commission has decided to expand the scope of the existing EUTR/FLEGT Expert Group to serve both as forum for the interaction with EU Member States’ authorities and as the multi-stakeholder platform to be established pursuant to the Communication. The group has therefore been renamed "Commission Expert Group / Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World's Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation". The work of this new group has been divided in two strands: the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, and the follow-up to the “Commission Communication on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests”, and separate meetings are being organised.
The new setting includes Type D members (Member States’ competent authorities) and Type C members (organisations representing industry, farmers, forest/land owners, trade, civil society and research institutes, based in the EU or in third countries, which have been selected through a call for applications). Here is the list of member organisations for the work on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation and the list of member organisations for the work on the follow-up to the “Commission Communication on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests”.
Overviews of timber source countries of importance to the EU market are being produced by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, to support the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation. Information on forest management, legislation and potential risks of illegality from different timber source countries and timber supply chains assists the work of Competent Authorities in applying a risk-based approach to planning their checks on operators. It also assists operators, who are required to undertake a risk management exercise as part of their Due Diligence System. So far, EU Timber Regulation country overviews are available for: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of the Congo. [These overviews, developed by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, have been subject to external peer review and will be updated periodically based on available information. They reflect the views of the authors only, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.]
At the 2nd meeting of the “Commission Expert Group/Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests” that took place on 9 December 2020, the EU Member States’ Competent Authorities have adopted conclusions on the application of Articles 4(2) and 6 of the EUTR to timber imports from Ukraine (including Annex), Brazil and Myanmar.
Briefing notes on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation have been compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission in close cooperation with the Member States Competent Authorities. So far there are notes covering the following periods: October 2016 to March 2017, April to May 2017, June to July 2017, August to October 2017, November 2017 to January 2018, February to March 2018, April to May 2018, June to August 2018, September to October 2018, November to December 2018, January to February 2019, March to April 2019, May to June 2019, July to August 2019, September to November 2019, December 2019 to January 2020, February to May 2020, June to September 2020.
Briefing notes on the EU Timber Regulation and on sourcing of deforestation-free commodities have been compiled in a similar way. So far there are notes covering the following periods: April to September 2021.
An overview of the EUTR compliance checks performed and penalties imposed by EU Member States’ and EEA Competent Authorities to enforce the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation is planned to be produced biennially. These reports are based on the data provided by the Competent Authorities on a voluntary basis in a format agreed with them and compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission. So far the overviews cover the following periods: March-May 2017, June-November 2017, December 2017-June 2018, July-December 2018, January-June 2019. As of the year 2019, the biennial reports have been replaced by annual overviews on the respective calendar year. These can be found here.
An EU Timber Trade interactive dashboard has been created by UNEP-WCMC, as an accompaniment to a report analysing patterns of trade in timber and timber products into and within the European Union over the period 2006-2016 [to be published soon]. Interactive graphs based on EuroStat ComExt data enable users to identify key trading partners, temporal trends and commodities in trade, supporting EU Competent Authorities in planning their compliance checks on operators.
A report looking at the interplay between the EU Timber Regulation and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations has recently been prepared by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission. The report reviews approaches to verifying the legality of timber entering the EU under these two Regulations, and provides a comparative analysis of the CITES verification of legal acquisition and the EUTR due diligence. The minutes of a joint EUTR-CITES Expert Group meeting held on 13/02/19 are available here.
The Regulation provides for "Monitoring organisations" to be recognised by the European Commission. These organisations which are private entities, provide EU operators with operational due diligence systems. Operators can thus develop their own system or use one developed by a monitoring organisation.
The Commission may also decide to withdraw the recognition of a monitoring organisation which no longer complies with the requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) No 995/2010. Such decision was taken with TimberChecker.
The Commission adopted Commission delegated Regulation of 23.2.2012 on the procedural rules for the recognition and withdrawal of recognition of monitoring organisations as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market.
The Commission adopted an implementing regulation on the risk assessment and risk mitigation measures which are part of the "due diligence system" as well as on the frequency and nature of checks which Member States` competent authorities will conduct on the monitoring organizations to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Regulation. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure the uniform implementation of the EU Timber Regulation.
The updated version of the Guidance Document for the EU Timber Regulation was adopted on 12 February 2016. It is available in English and in the 22 other EU languages and replaces the Guidance document of 2013.
The Commission also adopted a guidance document on the verification of legality in timber trade for CITES-listed tree species imported into the EU.
Additional guidance on the following matters has been agreed by the FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group: Recycled timber and timber products, Substantiated concerns, Risk mitigation measures, Consideration of prevalence of armed conflict and sanctions in Due Diligence Systems, and Due Diligence.
Further guidance documents and updates of existing guidance will be integrated in the above-mentioned Commission notice 'Guidance document for the EU Timber Regulation' at its next update.
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