At the recent 59th session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Pattaya, Thailand, discussions turned to a crucial issue : the urgent need to mobilise substantial funding to ensure the sustainable management of tropical forests.
The Chair of the Council, Mohammed Nurudeen Iddrisu, opened the 59th session by highlighting the major challenges facing tropical forests today, from the devastating impacts of climate change to forest fires, storms and floodings. These phenomena not only threaten biodiversity, but also jeopardise the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
At the heart of the matter is the European Union's Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which was the subject of lively debate on Trade and Markets Day. This regulation, which aims to exclude products linked to deforestation from EU markets, represents an important step towards protecting tropical forests. However, there are concerns about the potential implications for smallholders. Experts have highlighted the challenges facing these key players, including increased costs and more stringent due diligence information requirements. In this context, the need for increased funding to support smallholders in their transition to sustainable practices appears to be a key priority.
Council members expressed concerns about the complexity of supply chains, the definition of deforestation, the short timeframe for implementation of the EUDR and its potential impact on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement process linked to the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
In addition, the Council made an urgent call for international funding to ensure the sustainable management of tropical forests. The members of the Council urge governments, international organisations and the private sector to step up their financial efforts to ensure the preservation of these irreplaceable tropical forests. Investing in the sustainable management of tropical forests is not only an environmental necessity, it is also an imperative for creating a sustainable future for future generations. It is an investment in the preservation of biological diversity, global climate regulation and the well-being of the communities that depend on these ecosystems.
Faced with the threats to tropical forests, it is time to turn rhetoric into concrete action and to mobilize substantial funding for sustainable management.