The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) is the European Union’s key tool to combat the trade in illegal timber. It was adopted in October 2010 and applies since 3 March 2013. A quick look at the latest news…
Review of the implementation of WWF’s EUTR
This study, carried out in collaboration with the competent authorities (CA) of 16 Member States, covers the period from October 2018 to March 2019.
The report highlights gaps and good practices and provides recommendations to Member States and the European Commission.
Here are some of the recommendations:
EUTR and Brexit
In January 2020, the United Kingdom updated its timber trade guidance to include the status of imports and exports. From 1 January 2021, operators and importers will have to follow different processes for the trade in timber and timber products currently covered by EU legislation. The guidance document underlines that the UK will have its own legislation on timber trade and that this legislation will contain the same requirements as existing EU rules.
Survey EUTR operators
Approximately 2,500 operators were contacted, 85 professional associations and all relevant authorities, via online and telephone surveys.
Some indicators demonstrating the low ownership of the EUTR were found. Apart from this very few answers to the questionnaires, these included difficulties in understanding the implementation of due diligence systems (DDS), in finding information related to the DDS, and thus in estimating the risk of illegality. Also the costs for the implementation of DDS was mentioned as a difficulty.
On 11 December 2019, a communication « The European Green Deal » and its roadmap were published. These documents should serve as a guideline for the EU to reduce the negative impacts not only of the trade in illegal timber, but also of other products, including those from the agro-industry.
The Green Deal proposes to turn an urgent challenge into a unique opportunity. The Communication reiterates the European Commission’s commitment to address the climate and environmental challenges, « a major task for our generation ». This growth strategy proposes to « transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, characterised by zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and in which economic growth is decoupled from resource use ».
The Communication highlights the importance of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Kunming, China, in October 2020: « This will be an opportunity to adopt a strong global framework to halt biodiversity loss. »
This document refers to the forests of the European Union: « The forest area of the Union must be improved, both in quality and quantity, if the EU is to achieve climate neutrality and maintain a healthy environment. « and to the world’s forests: « the Commission will take regulatory and other measures to promote imported products and value chains that do not involve deforestation and forest degradation ».
The EU cannot act alone and wishes to strengthen these partnerships with these neighbours, who are more or less close. 2020 is a year of meeting and exchange on climate and the environment:
Strengthening the fight against deforestation
The Council of the European Union published its conclusions on the Communication: « Enhancing EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests » on 16 December 2019. Through this document, the Member States and the Council underline the importance of strengthening the implementation of the EUBER and wish to strengthen the partnership approach with producer countries. They recommend « to propose the inclusion in all relevant new EU global trade agreements of specific provisions on sustainably managed forests and sustainable and ‘zero deforestation’ agricultural commodities ».
On 5 February 2020, the Commission published its roadmap « Deforestation and forest degradation – reducing the impact of products placed on the EU market« .
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