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Procedure : 2005/2586(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0412/2005

Texts tabled :

B6-0412/2005

Debates :

PV 06/07/2005 - 15

Votes :

PV 07/07/2005 - 9.10

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2005)0300

Texts adopted
PDF 148kWORD 45k
Thursday, 7 July 2005 - Strasbourg
Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade
P6_TA(2005)0300B6-0412/2005

European Parliament resolution on speeding up implementation of the EU action plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2002 laying down the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme(1),

–   having regard to the EU action plan on FLEGT (Commission Communication of 21 May 2003 on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) - Proposal for an EU Action Plan (COM(2003)0251), which was endorsed by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council conclusions of 13 October 2003 on FLEGT(2),

–   having regard to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council conclusions of 21 and 22 December 2004 on FLEGT,

–   having regard to the Environment Council conclusions of 28 June 2004 on halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010,

–   having regard to the opinion in letter form of 19 January 2004 of its Committee on Industry, Trade, Research and Energy on the abovementioned Commission Communication of 21 May 2003,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community(COM(2004)0515),

–   having regard to the Opinion of 6 December 2001 of the Court of Justice of the European Communities(3) on competence to conclude the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety;

–   having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas illegal logging contributes to deforestation and loss of biodiversity, impacts on climate change; fuels civil wars and threatens international security as it gives rise to bribery, organised crime and human rights abuses,

B.   whereas the European Union, as one of the major importers of timber and timber products, has a particular responsibility with regard to the international community and developing countries,

C.   whereas cheap imports of illegal timber and forest products, together with the failure by some industry players to comply with basic social and environmental standards, destabilise international markets, cut tax revenue of producer countries and threaten jobs in importing and exporting countries,

D.   whereas unfair competition based on widespread illegal practices harms those European companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, which behave responsibly and respect the existing legal provisions,

E.   whereas the EU is committed to tackling illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber in accordance with the commitments it has made in various international and regional forums concerning the fight against the illegal exploitation and trading in forest resources and support for the human and institutional capacity related to forest law enforcement in those areas,

F.   whereas one of the objectives of Community policy on the environment is the promotion of measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems (Article 174 of the EC Treaty); whereas at international level such issues include the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity,

G.   whereas the sustainable economic and social development of the developing countries and the campaign against poverty in the developing countries are objectives of the Community's development and cooperation policy (Article 177 of the Treaty); whereas the World Bank 2002 Forestry Strategy outlined that forests support the livelihood of 90% of the 1.2 billion people in the developing world that live in extreme poverty,

H.   whereas environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of EC development policy (Article 6 of the Treaty),

I.   whereas the FLEGT action plan provided for the following priority actions: implementation of a voluntary licensing scheme through partnership agreements between the EU and timber-producing countries; review of the feasibility of further legislation to control imports of illegally harvested timber by mid-2004; support for the goals of the action plan with existing legislative instruments, such as money-laundering legislation; implementation of environmental procurement policy, and provision of support to timber-producing countries and private initiatives;

J.   whereas the Agriculture and Fisheries Council conclusions of 13 October 2003

   recognised 'that the Action Plan on FLEGT proposed by the Commission forms part of the firm commitment made by the EU to actively contribute to international processes such as the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), the expanded work programme of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with regard to forest biological diversity, the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)';
   acknowledged 'the fact that forest law enforcement, governance and trade needs to be addressed within the framework of sustainable development, sustainable forest management and poverty reduction, as well as social equity and national sovereignty';

K.   whereas in July 2004 the Commission presented a proposal for a Council regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community, which was to be implemented through bilateral, regional or inter-regional FLEGT partnership agreements, and which was in conformity with the FLEGT action plan in which the overall objective for such agreements was stated as being 'the contribution to sustainable development, in line with the overarching goal to promote sustainable development agreed by the EU and it's third country partners in the [World Summit on Sustainable Development]';

L.   whereas in its conclusions of 21 and 22 December 2004 the Agriculture and Fisheries Council encouraged the Commission to come forward with further legislative options to control imports of illegally harvested timber,

1.  Is disappointed by the extraordinarily slow progress in implementing the various commitments set out in the FLEGT action plan;

2.  Is disappointed that the Commission has so far failed to fulfil its commitment to deliver a study on legislative options which was, as set out in its action plan, to be submitted for mid-2004 and had been requested by both the Environment, and Agriculture and Fisheries Councils;

3.  Is disappointed that the Commission has so far failed to draft comprehensive legislation that will prohibit the import of all illegal timber and timber products, regardless of their country of origin, and to promote sustainable forest management worldwide, as requested for June 2004 by the members of Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy;

4.  Is disappointed that the Member States failed to provide the Commission with relevant information regarding national legislation which could be applied to address the illegal logging issue, and that no network has been established to facilitate the exchange of information;

5.  Is deeply concerned that the proposal for a regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme which gives a mandate for negotiation of FLEGT partnership agreements with timber-producing countries, which is one of the cornerstones of the FLEGT action plan, is being developed under the legal basis of Article 133 of the EC Treaty;

6.  Therefore urges the Commission and the Member States to comply without further delay with their commitments under the FLEGT action plan and their international commitments on biodiversity, poverty alleviation, sustainable forest management and climate mitigation;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make strong and rapid progress on the implementation of the FLEGT action plan, including;

   the submission, without further delay, by the Commission of a comprehensive legislative proposal that will prohibit the import of all illegally sourced timber and forest products into the EU, regardless of the country of origin, with the promotion of socially and ecologically responsible forest management worldwide as the final objective;
   the review of existing national legislation and further legislative options which could be applied with a view to addressing the illegal logging issue and related trade issues;
   the establishment of an EU network to facilitate the exchange of information on illegal trading in timber, for customs, administrative and judicial authorities;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to change the legal basis of the proposal for a regulation concerning the establishment of a voluntary FLEGT licensing scheme, which gives a mandate for the negotiation of FLEGT partnership agreements, from Article 133 to Article 175 and/or Article 179 of the EC Treaty;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the voluntary partnership agreements incorporate partnership principles committing producer countries to a time-bound action programme and involving measures to tackle the weaknesses in forest-sector governance, contribute to socially and ecologically responsible forest management and an end to biodiversity loss, and promote social equity and poverty alleviation;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure stronger, effective and meaningful participation of civil society and democratically elected representatives in the negotiation and implementation of FLEGT partnership agreements, as well as in the process of reviewing the partner country's forest-related laws to identify weaknesses and social and environmental injustices and, where necessary, the drafting of proposals for change;

11.  Insists that Parliament be fully involved and informed of the progress made at every stage of negotiations on FLEGT partnership agreements;

12.  Insists that the Commission and the Member States integrate forest law enforcement, governance and trade into the planning and implementation of the next round of Country Strategy Papers, in particular in regions and countries with significant forest resources, and provide adequate funds from geographic budget lines in order to build capacity and support implementation of key reforms;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 242, 10.9.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 268, 7.11.2003, p. 1.
(3) Opinion C-2/00 ECR [2001] I-9713

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