Blog | Feb. 12, 2019

Add your voice – tell the European Commission to take urgent action on deforestation and forest degradation

Our forests play a crucial role in helping tackle worrying climate breakdown. They store and absorb carbon emissions, protect millions of species, and provide homes and livelihoods for many communities. 

But our global forests are under threat. Tree cover loss has been rising steadily in tropical forests over the past 17 years, and 2017 was the second worst on record for tropical tree cover loss.

From the coffee drunk in cafes across Europe, to the palm oil and cocoa in the chocolates gifted this Valentine’s Day, the EU’s consumption of agricultural commodities is responsible for a significant share of this deforestation.

A lot of global deforestation is caused when land is cleared to grow crops or for livestock products. The EU’s own study shows that the continent imported a massive third of all of the produce for export that caused this kind of deforestation.

Now, we have a chance to change this. By answering this questionnaire on deforestation by 25th February, we can have our voices heard by the European Commission, and ask for real action to tackle deforestation and forest degradation.

Along with other organisations Global Witness has been advocating for the EU to step up action, and introduce binding rules that require investors and companies to check their investments and their supply chains. This means we can better ensure they are not contributing to deforestation, forest degradation or land grabbing.

But we’re concerned that the long-awaited “communication” – which will set out an Action Plan on how the European Commission intends to tackle deforestation and forests degradation – might not include crucial measures needed to make a difference.

So we’re calling on and encouraging organisations and individuals to share their views with the European Commission, to show that there is support for the bold action needed.

Calls for EU action have been mounting. In July 2018, the European Parliament called on the Commission to introduce a meaningful EU Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation that includes concrete and coherent regulatory measures.[1] EU member states participating in the Amsterdam Initiative have also called on the European Commission to adopt an “ambitious Action Plan”.[2]

Please add your voice by 25th February and tell the EU to make an urgent change, by providing an action plan which includes proposals for binding regulation to ensure that companies and investors do not contribute to deforestation, forest degradation or land grabbing.

See also: Global Witness’s supplementary policy submission to the consultation, 18 February 2019

[1] European Parliament, report ontransparent and accountable management of natural resources in developingcountries: the case of forests (2018/2003(INI)), July 2018.

[2] Letter on behalf of the Amsterdam Declaration group, 1 November 2018


  • Jo Blackman

    Campaign Strategy Lead, Forests Policy and Advocacy


  • Jo Blackman

    Campaign Strategy Lead, Forests Policy and Advocacy

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