‘No evidence’ that EU's illegal timber policy is working
Leaked review shows that EU law is failing to prevent $100bn a year trade in illegal timber - or that rules are even being implemented
11th February 2016
There is “no solid evidence” that an EU law has done anything to prevent the illegal timber trade or even that it has been implemented, according to a draft commission review seen by the Guardian.
Nine EU countries have still not imposed penalties or taken action against timber traffickers and six others have yet to carry out checks on importers as required by the EU’s timber regulation.
The review finds that “only a fraction” of private sector firms use independent monitoring groups to source their timber, and that loopholes anyway exempt many types of timber import from scrutiny.
Alexandra Pardal, a spokeswoman for the campaign group Global Witness, said that the EU’s law had been a landmark in the fight against deforestation “but almost three years after its introduction, we haven’t seen a single prosecution in Europe.”
“If EU member states are serious about cracking down on the drivers of illegal logging, they need to start abiding by their own laws – by seizing illicit timber and prosecuting the companies that import it.”
Global Witness says that it has presented EU authorities with “clear evidence” of illegal timber being exported to Europe from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, but that no action was taken.
Greenpeace is also demanding an Interpol investigation into a boat that it suspects of being laden with illegal timber, which is reportedly docked in Bilbao at present, after being towed away from the French coast.
The global illegal logging industry is worth up to$100bn a year, according to Interpol estimates.
The commission review did detect a drop in timber imports to the EU between 2010 and 2013, but found that this was mostly because of economic stagnation in Europe and high timber demand in Asia.
“There is no solid evidence to show that the due diligence system obligation so far has been effective in preventing illegally harvested timber and that operators across the EU have consistently implemented their due diligence requirements to date,” it says. MORE>>>> http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/10/no-evidence-that-eus-illegal-timber-policy-is-working