EU Ministers Agree on Law Against Global Deforestation

EU Ministers Agree on Law Against Global Deforestation

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EU climate ministers have reached an agreement in Luxembourg on the first European forest law. The law aims to minimize global deforestation and the depletion of forest areas caused by consumption and production in the EU.

 

Minister Rob Jetten calls the agreement an “important step to halt deforestation,” he said.

Deforestation in the world is progressing at an “alarming pace”, according to the European Commission, which introduced the bill last year. The main cause of deforestation is the expansion of agricultural land for the production of wood, palm oil, soy, cocoa and coffee, among other things. The EU is one of the top importers of soy, palm oil and timber from areas where forests and other valuable natural areas have often been destroyed.

The new rules aim to ensure that European citizens no longer buy, use and consume products on the EU market that contribute to the global destruction of forests. European companies are required to apply ‘due diligence’ rules if they want to place certain products on the EU market, based on a deforestation risk assessment system in the countries from which those products come. Human rights are also intertwined.

According to Jetten, the law is “just the beginning” and more is needed. For example, the Netherlands has argued for expanding the law to include new raw materials and ecosystems, but “unfortunately there was not enough support for this”.

EU member states are expected to start negotiating the final law with the European Parliament after September.

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