Some 1.6 billion people – 20% of the global population – depend on forests for food and livelihoods. Tropical forests are home to millions of species. Managed sustainably, these forests can provide jobs and materials for everyday use while protecting precious biodiversity and limiting the effects of climate change. Fifteen tropical timber-exporting countries are working with the EU to halt illegal logging and promote responsible use of the world’s forests. Through partnerships under the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, these countries are transforming their timber sectors. These factsheets give an overview of the areas where FLEGT is supporting efforts to combat illegal logging, strengthen forest governance, and encourage sustainable economic development.
Closing the EU market to illegal timber
The EU FLEGT Action Plan aims to combat illegal logging and associated trade through demand- and supply-side measures. The EU is a large market for timber products, importing EUR 18.17 billion worth of wood products in 2017. Of this total, products worth EUR 3.78 billion came from tropical countries.
FLEGT licensed timber
The EU FLEGT Action Plan aims to combat illegal logging and associated trade through demand- and supply-side measures. Products with FLEGT licences automatically meet EU Timber Regulation requirements. To issue FLEGT licences, a country must put in place a system that tracks wood and verifies its legality as it moves from forest to factory to export. FLEGT licensed products comply with laws relating to worker safety, taxation, sustainability, and fair benefits for local communities.
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A lack of transparency in a country's forest sector is among the governance challenges that enable illegal logging to continue. Without transparency, governments lose revenue, communities may lose control over their land, and citizens struggle to participate in decisions about forest resources. The EU FLEGT Action Plan is the EU’s response to the problem of illegal logging. It supports transparency in the forest sector in various ways, including by increasing stakeholder participation, establishing independent audits and making forest sector information public.
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- Climate change
- Illegal logging