European Commission report: "More efforts needed for EUTR implementation"
Yesterday the European Commission released a report on the effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) during its first two years of implementation.
The report finds that the EU is on track to achieve its objectives to combat illegal logging and associated trade in illegal timber, but challenges remain.
Some positive trends are visible, namely that EU operators are gradually taking steps to ensure the legality of their suppliers and that there is more awareness of the problem of illegal logging amongst EU consumers.
The Regulation has also encouraged producer countries to develop systems assessing compliance with the requirements of the legislation. However, more effort is needed from both the Member States and the private sector to ensure its effective and efficient application. Since 2014 there has been significant progress in the implementation of timber regulation across the EU.
While in July 2014 there were 18 non-compliant Member States, in June 2015 the number was reduced to 4 (Greece, Hungary, Romania and Spain). The Commission launched infringement procedures against these Member States in 2015. It was also widely recognised that the Regulation adds significant value to the international efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation, conserve biodiversity and address climate change.
The results of evaluation will be used to further improve the implementation and application of the Timber Regulation.
"Although the evaluation of the Regulation comes after only two years of application, evidence shows that the Regulation has encouraged more responsible sourcing policies where they already exist and for engaging in new ones. In addition, it has demonstrated its potential to change operators' market behaviour", the report says. "Moreover, the Regulation has created an incentive for suppliers in third countries to demonstrate the legality of their timber products and has the power to establish supply chains free of illegally harvested timber, thus contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the FLEGT Action Plan."
The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) was adopted in March 2013 aiming to tackle the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market. It sets out requirements that companies within the European Union (EU) must meet to minimize the risk of illegal timber being traded. The EUTR requires companies placing timber products on the European market (both imported and domestic) to implement a Due Diligence System (DDS), keeping records of their suppliers and customers to allow for traceability.
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