In the Media
European Union is ‘failing the forests’, says WWF
February 23, 2012
The European Union is coming up short in stemming the flow of illegal and unsustainable timber into the confederated countries, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The criticism comes in anticipation of March 3, 2013, when the EU will enact the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. In essence, the legislation is similar to the U.S.’s current Lacey Act, which attempts to ensure that only legally harvested timber is imported into the EU.
Making conclusions from a recent survey of EU member countries, the WWF determined that 17 out of 27 countries are failing to take sufficient action for FLEGT implementation. Countries that received high marks were Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Spain received low marks.
The EU must ratify Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with “tropical” timber exporter countries to halt trade in illegal timber. So far, the EU has ratified action plans with three countries: Cameroon, Ghana and Republic of Congo, according to its website. Negotiations are ongoing with Liberia, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
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Keywords: Africa, Asia, EU, Europe, FLEGT, illegal timber, logging, timber, VPA