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Conference participants discuss solutions to global deforestation and forest degradation

Deforestation conferenceMore than 120 representatives from industry, academia, NGOs and governments met in Brussels on 26 and 27 May to discuss the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation and the implications for climate change, development and loss of biodiversity. The conference, co-organised by DG DEVCO, aimed to take stock of successful measures to combat deforestation and forest degradation, and to start a process of consultation, both inside and outside the EU, to define future strategies.

According to FAO estimates, some 13 million hectares of forest are lost every year. Competing and conflicting demands for land are likely to grow further towards 2050, when 9 billion people will be sharing the planet and its limited resources, under changing climate patterns and socio-economic conditions. Deforestation and agriculture account for some 30% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – more than the total EU greenhouse gas emissions – while addressing unsustainable land use represents up to 60% of the national mitigation potential against climate change in some countries.

Roundtable discussions at the conference will help inform future work in various policy fields, including REDD+, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, the EU FLEGT Action Plan Review and the implementation of the EU Resource Efficiency Roadmap.

In response to the call of the 7th Environment Action Programme to consider the development of an EU action plan against deforestation and forest degradation, the EC will consider policy areas including environment, climate, development, agriculture, energy, trade and finance, as well as instruments such as public procurement, corporate reporting, due diligence and voluntary schemes.  

As overall recommendations and ideas for potential future actions, the conference proposed:

1) to promote forest-friendly supply chains.

2) to work collaboratively along supply chains from supply to demand. The FLEGT Action Plan is a good example in this regard.

3) to strengthen consumer countries’ measures to influence demand for agricultural products such as improving resource efficiency, promoting green procurement policies and encouraging deforestation-free investment policies.

4) to strengthen national land use policies, and promote better land and forest governance in producer countries.

5) To develop approaches incentivising climate-smart policies through integrated landscape management (forest and agriculture).

6) To develop synergies between international agreements and relevant national laws.  

7) To strengthen the voice of smallholders at local level.

8) To enable stakeholders to adopt sustainable agriculture and energy practices.

Now available, the summary report of the conference.

Speeches and presentations can be found by clicking on the relevant hyperlink in the conference agenda.

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Katharine Mill
3 September 2014

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