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29 Feb 2012 - by A4ID

Working to change the law on illegal logging

Illegal logging has serious consequences for development and the environment. But thanks to work by our legal and development partners the import of illegal timber is now banned in the EU.

Background

llegal logging has very serious consequences for human development as well as for the environment.

The loss of biodiversity, soil cohesion and water retention which make the logging so harmful environmentally are disastrous for small scale farming. They also lead to landslides and unpredictable water supplies which can displace communities.

Illegal trade forces down wood prices so that legitimate foresters cannot earn enough to provide for themselves. Developing countries lose out on vital government revenue. What is more, illegal loggers often employ violent tactics against local people who get in their way.

Deforestation is also a critical cause of global climate change, which is having detrimental effects all over the world and particularly in developing regions.

Progressio

Progressio is a charity that promotes sustainable development in line with many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Working with forest communities in countries in South America they had witnessed first hand the devastating human and ecological impact of illegal logging.

Alberto Aurelio Granados, president of a Forest Community Consultation Committee in Campamento, Honduras, one of Progressio’s partners said:

“As a child I got to see trees my children can no longer see, in the summer we have streams with no water at all and some streams no longer exist; you go there and all you find is sand.”

Firm laws

With one of its main areas of focus being environmental sustainability, Progressio wanted to push for firm laws against dealing with illegally sourced timber in the UK and in Europe.

But to make a stand, Progressio needed to understand the existing law and have strong legal proposals for how to change it: proposals which had a good chance of being accepted by legislatures and of being legally effective against traders.

At this point, Progressio approached A4ID.

Partnership with A4ID and legal victory

A4ID partnered Progressio with lawyers who were able to advise them on the current law and the best way it could be amended to achieve Progressio’s aims.

The support provided by lawyers from Shearman and Sterling LLP was crucial in promoting what now has become Regulation (EU) No. 995/2010 ‘(Illegal) Timber Regulation’. This was ratified in October 2010, making it legally binding on all EU member states.

“It is right to support this ban in Europe as it will serve our children; they will be the ones that inherit this achievement,” said Alberto Aurelio Granados.

By reducing the demand for illegally sourced timber, this legislation will lower the incidence of illegal logging, and will positively increase agriculture, developing economies and climate change.

Through providing Progressio with legal advice and support, A4ID helped towards these positive, profound and sustainable outcomes for development.

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