At the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the European Commission is continuing efforts with partner countries to ensure a successful transition to deforestation-free supply chains. The global fight against deforestation and forest degradation is crucial to achieve global commitments to address climate change and biodiversity loss. The new EU law on deforestation – starting to apply on 30 December 2024 – is an important turning point in this endeavour. The EU outlined a number of new measures and tools aimed to support partner countries and companies.
Launch of the EU Observatory on deforestation and forest degradation
The EU observatory on deforestation and forest degradation is now up and running, providing maps and datasets on changes in the world’s forest cover and associated drivers. The observatory is structured around the main components: global forest monitoring and production and trade of commodities. It builds on existing monitoring tools (such as Copernicus and other publicly or privately available sources) and will facilitate access to free information on supply chains for businesses, public entities and consumers.
New Team Europe initiative on Deforestation-free Value Chains
On 9 December at COP28, the European Commission and a key group of Member states announced that it is stepping up its engagement with partner countries and together with the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, and France launched the global Team Europe Initiative on Deforestation-free Value Chains. The Initiative aims to support partner countries to transition to sustainable, deforestation-free, and legal agricultural value chains. It includes new financial support of EUR 70 million, and three main features.
The EU and its Member States announced an initial package of €70 million in new funding for the implementation of this Team Europe Initiative, complementing a broad portfolio of ongoing programmes from the EU and its Member States on forests and halting deforestation. It also includes:
- Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project: as the main pillar of cooperation providing support to partner countries and producers on deforestation free value chains, especially as regards traceability and support to smallholders;
- Zero Deforestation Hub: as part of SAFE, this Hub will be a central resource for information, coordination, and outreach to partner countries;
- Technical Facility on Deforestation-free Value Chains: will provide on-demand analysis, needs assessment and technical support on the transition to deforestation-free supply chains in partner countries, with a focus on smallholders.
Frequently asked questions
The Commission also continues clarifying concrete questions being raised by stakeholders from the EU and from partner countries. This is done regularly through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs document). In the latest version published last Friday, the Commission services have compiled answers to over 80 questions on the new rules. These questions have been updated in web format, and automatic translation is available so all stakeholders can easily find the answers to their questions.
Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests
The Commission is continuing its continuous dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including partner countries and companies. The platform meets frequently to present and discuss the main strands of work and identify best practices. Documents are publicly available and participation is open to all countries.
The EU will continue to work closely with partner countries and companies to ensure a successful transition to deforestation-free supply chains. Guidance documents will be prepared on agricultural use, certification, legality and other aspects building also on the EU Timber Regulation experience (EUTR official guidance).
The Commission will soon launch the Pilot testing of the Information System which will contain due diligence statements. The Commission will work closely with Member State authorities in mid-2024, to ensure that the System is fully functional before the new rules enter into application.
More from COP28
On 9 December, Commissioner Sinkevičius launched a country package of support measures with the Republic of Congo and France to help accelerate the achievement of international forest, nature and climate goals.
Commissioner Sinkevičius also signed an EU-Egypt Joint Declaration, establishing a sustainable water partnership which builds on long-standing cooperation between the two sides.
He also opened the side-event “Scaling-up nature-based solutions for climate, nature and people”, organized together with the European Investment Bank. The event highlighted the important role of Nature-based solutions, helping build momentum for their implementation and their financing. The recording is available here.
On 10 December, Director-General of DG Environment Florika Fink-Hooijer participated in a side event on building climate and conflict resilience through sustainable water and land management. The event addressed interlinkages between environmental crises, scarce natural resources, and the risk of conflicts, discussing solutions that foster green transition and peace. The recording is available here.
Source : Environment