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Monday, 19 July 2010

Piebalgs in London to promote EU action against illegal timber export

On July 15th, Commissioner Piebalgs was in London to deliver a speech at the launch of a report prepared by an international think tank on "Illegal Logging and Related Trade". The report documents progress made at the global level of combating illegal logging and improving forest governance in developing countries. Commissioner Piebalgs highlighted achievements made through the EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT). Amongst these achievements are the signature of voluntary agreements with Congo and Ghana, which will ensure that all wood products entering the European Union from these countries carry a licence showing that the wood they contain is of legal origin. Following this event, the Development Commissioner will hold a bilateral meeting with Andrew Mitchell, the UK Secretary of State for International Development. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: "The EU must be at the forefront of fight against illegal timber trade. Following Ghana, the Republic of Congo, and soon Cameroon, I encourage all wood producing countries to sign the tailor-made voluntary trade agreements with the EU, named "FLEGT". This is in our mutual interest: we guarantee European consumers that the furniture, the decoration and any wooden product they buy has been legally produced and imported within the EU, in respect of the biodiversity and forest life cycle; in the same time, this will benefit developing countries who will enjoy a legal and sustainable exploitation of their forests, ensuring jobs creation and domestic resources". The study, carried out by the Chatham House, is an attempt to measure for the first time global efforts to tackle illegal logging of consumer, processing and wood producing countries. It examines the response and actions taken in countries where illegal logging occurs and also in those countries which import, process and consume illegally sourced wood. In addition to measuring how illegal logging has changed over time, the report shows how attention to the problem has changed and how governments and the private sector have responded. It notably mentions the EU FLEGT agreements as one credible and useful tool.

Source: European Commission