On the occasion of Climate Diplomacy Week 2020, and following the ASEAN Ministerial on Agriculture and Forestry (21/10) the European Union (EU) announces a new €5 million project “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in ASEAN”. Over the next three years, the project will support ASEAN Member States to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber.
The project will be implemented by the European Forest Institute. It supports and complements on-going initiatives in ASEAN, such as the Strategic Plan of Action for ASEAN Co-operation on Forestry (2016-2025), adopted in 2016, and the Work Plan for Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in ASEAN for the same period. This Work Plan constitutes the basis for deepening co-operation and implementing joint actions among ASEAN Member States, addressing illegal logging and deforestation through an approach in line with the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.
“The EU is proud to work with ASEAN to strengthen forest governance across the region, in line with the EU Green deal. Legal timber export enhances fair trade, sustainable forest management and the protection of biodiversity to the benefit of all people in Southeast Asia,” said Igor Driesmans, EU Ambassador to ASEAN.
Southeast Asia contains 15% of the world’s tropical forests, and includes at least four of the 25 globally important biodiversity hotspots. Forests are a major source of livelihoods, food security and material production for a significant percentage of the 650 million people in Southeast Asia. The region however is among the world’s major deforestation hotspots, and ranks among the highest in terms of severe biodiversity loss. Between 2005 and 2015, Southeast Asia lost about 80 million hectares of forest, such deforestation could result in over 40% of the region's biodiversity disappearing by 2100.
The EU-FLEGT Action Plan is the EU’s response to the global problem of illegal logging and trade in associated timber products. Implementation of this EU flagship initiative has generated a positive momentum, particularly in Southeast Asia where eight ASEAN Member States are currently involved, at different levels, in FLEGT related dialogues.
Organised around the main objective of the programme, to enhance and demonstrate good forest governance, monitoring and sustainable forest management across ASEAN Member States and in the Asia region, three interlinked components of this action will aim at:
The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade is related to the fact that tropical forests are significant to the health of the planet. While they cover only about 7% of the Earth’s land surface, they are home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s plant and animal species, and store 68% of global terrestrial carbon stocks. The number of people deriving direct and indirect benefits from tropical forests in the form of employment, timber products, contributions to livelihoods and incomes is estimated at over a billion. If sustainably managed, tropical forests contribute to environmental stability, long-term economic growth and social inclusion of the poor.
The EU and ASEAN began formal relations in 1977. They continue to deepen their partnership to address global challenges and to work together to reinforce the rules-based international order and multilateralism. The EU is ASEAN’s number one partner in development cooperation with over €250 million of assistance in the last seven years, aimed at strengthening regional integration and supporting the ASEAN Secretariat. This comes in addition to €2 billion of bilateral support to ASEAN Member States.
FLEGT – https://europa.eu/!bY84yP
Factsheet on EU-ASEAN relations – https://europa.eu/!uQ47XJ
Connecting Europe and Asia: The EU Strategy – https://europa.eu/!JM73qu
European Green Deal – https://europa.eu/!Tr74bn