Trees and forests: An investment in climate resilience

06 – 18 November 2022, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt

Fighting deforestation: what are the implications of the proposed EU regulation on deforestation-free products for Congo Basin countries?

In November 2021, the European Union (EU) published a legislative proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products. This proposal aims to reduce deforestation by setting targets for commodities with a high risk of deforestation, such as soy, beef, palm oil or coffee.

Before placing these products in the EU market or exporting them from the EU, operators and importers would be subject to certain requirements. The proposed regulation imposes a comprehensive, effective and continuous due diligence obligation on them to prove that their products are not linked to deforestation or forest degradation. In addition, operators would be required to disclose information about their supply chains and report on their measures to avoid deforestation.

In June 2022, the environment ministers of the EU Member States presented their position on the European Commission's proposal. They narrowed down the types of forests and ecosystems that would be included in this regulation.

In July 2022, the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) voted on amendments to strengthen the regulation. They provide for a regulation that includes more commodities (including pork, poultry, maize and rubber) as well as stronger protection for human rights and indigenous peoples' rights.

The trialogue among the three institutions mentioned above to finalise the EU's regulation on deforestation-free products is underway and should be concluded by the end of 2023.

This is therefore an opportunity for Congo Basin governments, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to better understand the implications of this regulation for forest and land policies and reforms in the sub-region. It is also important for these actors to refine their positions and actions to ensure that the regulation has a positive impact on forests and forest people.