WWF Barometer 2012: EU countries still failing the forests
The TRAFFIC report documents alarming levels of illegal logging and exports of forest products from Tanzania. Sawmill, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania.
EU countries are not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal and unsustainable timber or regulating its sale, despite the upcoming introduction of two pieces of legislation to halt its import, according to a survey by WWF.
So far only four countries are ready to receive licensed timber, under the FLEGT Regulation, which came into force in 2005. And as many as nine countries have still to put in place any of the necessary implementing measures for the EU Timber Regulation, which is due to be implemented on March 3rd, 2013.
The survey (www.wwf.org.uk/barometer) found the highest scorers with 12 points (out of max 18 points) respectively were Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The UK has been the most consistent high scorer on performance, but has become one of the slowest in terms of improving its performance.
Anke Schulmeister, WWF Forest Policy Officer said:
“Illegal logging has been on the EU agenda for years, resulting in partnership agreements with countries like Ghana or Congo damaged by illegal logging and in a good European legislation to stop trade in illegal timber products on European markets. But this all will be useless, if it is not followed by actions at national level. Under the EU timber regulation, Member states have still time until 2013 to at least set penalties and sanctions to hit those who are breaking the rules. But they need to start doing it now.”
Only seven countries are making good progress in ensuring that all public institutions buy only legal and sustainable timber and wood products. As many as 11 countries still have no such policy in place at all, despite having illegal timber in their supply chains, and monitoring of the quality of implementation is very weak.
Comparable scores over the course of the barometer surveys (2004-2012) show that Belgium, France and Slovenia are the most improved. The weakest performers overall in 2012, scoring two points or less, out of a total possible score of 18, were Estonia, Finland, Greece Italy, Slovakia and Spain.
One of the flagship actions by the EU is working with tropical countries to enter into voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) which will permit licensed timber from these countries to enter the EU both under the FLEGT regulation and the EU Timber Regulation. Only six EU countries are currently proactively engaged in supporting this.
Unless EU governments do more, wood products sold across the EU could still be undermining social infrastructure and devastating natural habitats in areas of Indonesia and the Congo Basin. Illegal and unsustainable logging impacts on communities and species, such as the orang-utan and gorilla, whilst also making a significant contribution to climate change.
Barometer WWF.org UK
(Government Barometer 2012)
Anke Schulmeister, WWF Forest Policy Officer, Tel. +32 (0) 2 740 09 22, email: email@example.com
Stefania Campogianni, Media and Communication Officer, WWF European Policy Office, Tel. +32 (0)2 743 88 15, Mob: 0499 539736 firstname.lastname@example.org