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Cautious welcome for Irish Government support for REDD

Security of supply, of quality timber is going to be a major concern for many EU timber importing countries. Ireland has been a net importer of tropical timber for well over 200 years. As the largest 'per capita' consumers of tropical hardwoods in the EU, our contribution to tropical deforestation is well documented. In November 2010, after more than seven years of negotiation, the European Union published “Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 Laying Down the Obligations of Operators who Place Timber and Timber Products on the Market.” This new legislation, known as the European Union Timber Regulation (EU TR), bans the placing of illegal timber and certain, listed wood products on the EU market and puts an obligation of 'due diligence' on the operators who import them. The new EU TR will come in to force in March 2012.

16th February 2012

Just Forests welcomes the Irish Government's financial contribution of 150,000 EURO towards 'closer involvement in tackling forest loss in developing countries' which was announced on 30th January 2012. It is a significant financial contribution. But how is it going to be spent? Will the money end up in some big black hole like other international mechanism that have swallowed billions of EUROS but the problems they were destined to resolve are still with us.

1. Has the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine fully studied and appreciated the criticisms of REDD + by international indigenous people's and environmental organisations? Especially
 its current and potential impacts on land access and user rights in developing countries
its use as a cover to carry on business as usual in carbon emitting countries
What measures is the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine taking to ensure that REDD+ projects which it supports are being steered such that they do not cause negative impacts in the countries s which they are intended to benefit?

2. Does the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine know exactly how its contribution will be spent? And have they consulted with Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on how it should be spent? With less revenue going towards developing countries, it is of increasing importance that the funds are being spent efficiently and at the target location.
Are near-forest communities in developing countries going to benefit directly from the 150.000 Euro?
Has the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine targeted its funds towards projects which its knows are performing well on socio-economic as well as carbon sequestration criteria?

3. How is the Irish Government going to tackle the fact that Ireland is still very dependent on imported timber? It would not be outlandish to suggest that traditional sources of imported timber (that Ireland depends on) will cease as South-south trade develops more strongly between China and Africa.

4. With global populations now in excess of 7 billion, and forecasted to peak at 9.3 billion by 2025, Just Forests believes that the Irish Government must become more self-reliant on home-grown timber to meet our energy and construction needs going forward.

Illegal and unsustainable logging is a key driver of forest destruction and contributes up to one-fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions1. It also has a devastating impact on biodiversity and on the lives and livelihoods of forest-dependent people. Throughout the world, ancient and diverse forests are in crisis. Many of the plants and animals that live in these forests face extinction. Many of the peoples and cultures who depend on these forests for their way of life are under threat. While the Government's intentions to tackle forest loss in developing countries is well intentioned, it must be matched by a much more rigorous and planned reforestation programme here in Ireland that will ensure we are self-sufficient and less dependent on other countries for our timber needs.


Notes to editor

Just Forests is Ireland's longest established non-governmental development education organisations working solely on global poverty-related tropical forestry/timber issues from a local development perspective. Just Forests uses society's dependence on wood and the on-going decline in global forests as a tool to establish links between green-house gases, the loss of terrestrial biodiversity, "development", conflict and poverty.

Since our inception, Just Forests, have always insisted that good forest stewardship is inseparable from sustainable development, and if we fail to take it into account we risk undoing all the positive work being carried out by national and international development agencies and governments to reduce poverty and combat climate change.

Just Forests hosted the first Forest Certification and Timber Labelling Conference in Ireland in 1996.

For further information, please contact:
Tom Roche, Tel: 086 8049389, email: tomroche@justforests.org

Irish Government support for Tropical forests-REDD
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Tom Roche (trading as) Just Forests Ltd.
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