Open letter to European Ministers on EU Deforestation Law

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The EU Regulation on deforestation-free products, came into force in 2023 and will start to apply on 30 December 2024. This law – a world first – makes it illegal to import or export forest-risk products, namely seven commodity products—soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee and rubber, all of which are major drivers of deforestation or are produced illegally.

Among the risks and loopholes that may affect the effectiveness of the legislation, there is a risk of leakage to other ecosystems including wetlands due to the fact that the demand for agricultural production will not decline.

As reported following the AGRIFISH Council meeting on March 26, 2024, the EU agriculture ministers, in opposition of EU democratic principles, are trying to scale back and delay the Regulation. Similarly, some industries are asking for EUDR obligations to be postponed – completely ignoring the environmental crises the EUDR seeks to help tackle.

Wetlands International Europe joined 37 NGOs from 15 EU  Member States in an open letter to European Ministers, raising our concerns. Failing to prepare for implementation, and causing confusion about what the legal requirements will be, is not helping farmers. EU Member States should instead focus on implementing the Regulation and providing the proper support to their own farmers and foresters – as well as to smallholders around the world.

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