Following the meeting on September 28 between competent authorities, it appears that the European Union has finally taken neither a decision nor recommendation concerning timber imports from Gabon. ATIBT has also discussed the matter with the Directorate General for the Environment of the European Commission in Brussels.
The minutes of the September 28 meeting were published on Monday October 9. Here's what it says about Gabon:
“3. Update on EUTR implementation
(…)Regarding the coup in Gabon, serious concerns have been raised regarding the possibility to undertake due diligence throughout the supply chain (…).
The Commission noted that regarding Gabon, concerns were raised as to the possibility to exercise full due diligence for timber and timber products produced in the country, following the coup d'état on 30 August 2023. In particular, it is unclear whether it is currently possible to perform audits and on-the-spot checks in Gabon by EU operators, as an integral part of reaching negligible risk, to prove compliance with EUTR throughout the whole supply chain. It was agreed that the situation will be closely monitored and any new information will be taken into consideration by the Expert Group; the situation will be discussed in forthcoming meetings.
In addition, thanks to our links with ETIC, ATIBT was able to meet the Commission's DG ENV in Brussels on Monday October 9, in particular Head of Unit Astrid Ladefoged and her team. Accompanied by LCB, we were able to present our activities and share information on the situation in Gabon, and position ourselves as a relay to share information on Gabon and other countries. We are invited to share our topics at future platform meetings, even if we are not a member (we applied in September and are awaiting a reply). The next expert/stakeholder meeting will be held on October 16 on the subject of the EUDR, and the next one for member state experts only on November 29, and the Gabon issue will again be addressed. We may be asked to make a presentation.
We will keep you informed.