On 23 July 2019, the European Commission adopted an EU communication on stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests.
The communication has the objective of protecting and improving the health of existing forests, especially primary forests, and significantly increasing sustainable, biodiverse forest coverage worldwide. It sets out five priorities:
- Reduce the footprint of EU consumption on land and encourage the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU;
- Work in partnership with producer countries to reduce pressures on forests and to “deforest-proof” EU development cooperation;
- Strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and encourage forest restoration;
- Redirect finance to support more sustainable land-use practices;
- Support the availability and quality of information on forests and commodity supply chains, the access to that information, and support research and innovation.
Annex I to the communication proposes actions to be implemented by the European Commission to meet these priorities, while Annex II lists actions recommended to EU national, regional and local authorities, industry and civil society.
Actions proposed also aim at creating a multi-stakeholder platform and an EU Observatory on deforestation and forest degradation, at exploring possible legislative measures, and at reinforcing the implementation of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, focusing on fighting illegal logging.
A Staff Working Document, accompanying the communication, presents a synopsis report of consultation results and feedback.