During the question-and-answer session that followed the presentations at the ITTO Annual Market Discussion, the implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUDR) took center stage. Members of the Council engaged in a lively discussion on the EUDR and its impact on governance in producer countries.
One delegate from Ghana expressed concerns about the EUDR, suggesting that it may be an attempt to influence governance in producer countries. The delegate sought clarification on how the EUDR would address timber harvested from trees planted on land where the forest cover was destroyed by fire.
In response, a representative from the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF), Petersen, acknowledged that the EUDR is not flexible in its current form. He emphasized that timber from trees planted on land affected by fire would be subject to the regulations outlined in the EUDR.
The EUDR, which came into effect in 2013, aims to combat illegal logging and promote sustainable timber trade within the European Union. It requires operators who place timber and timber products on the EU market to exercise due diligence to ensure that the timber has been legally harvested.
While the EUDR has been successful in raising awareness about the issue of illegal logging, challenges remain in its implementation. The complexity of global timber supply chains, coupled with varying legal frameworks in producer countries, has made it difficult for operators to fully comply with the regulation.
During the discussion, several delegates highlighted the need for capacity-building initiatives to support producer countries in meeting the requirements of the EUDR. They emphasized the importance of providing technical assistance and training to improve the traceability and legality of timber exports.
In addition to capacity-building, delegates also called for greater transparency and cooperation between producer countries and the EU. They stressed the importance of sharing information on legal frameworks, enforcement measures, and best practices in sustainable forest management.
The ITTO Annual Market Discussion provided a platform for stakeholders to exchange knowledge and experiences on timber trade and sustainable forest management. It served as a forum for dialogue and collaboration, with participants expressing their commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the EUDR and promoting a responsible and sustainable timber trade.
As the session drew to a close, it was evident that the implementation of the EUDR remains a complex and evolving issue. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to ensure that the regulation effectively achieves its goals of combating illegal logging and promoting sustainable timber trade in the European Union and beyond.