EU’s timber regulation (EUTR) hasn’t been effective in preventing the illegal timber trade, according to the Guardian. Even if the law requires it, six EU countries still haven’t carried out checks on importers. Moreover, nine other EU countries didn’t take action against illegal timber dealers or haven’t been imposed penalties.
The European Commission review sent to the Guardian shows that there are only a few private sector companies that have monitoring groups to track the source of their timber. Nevertheless, there are numerous ways to exempt many types of timber import from investigation.
This EU law represents a landmark against illegal logging, "but almost three years after its introduction, we haven’t seen a single prosecution in Europe. If EU member states are serious about cracking down on the drivers of illegal logging, they need to start abiding by their own laws – by seizing illicit timber and prosecuting the companies that import it,” said Alexandra Pardal, a spokeswoman for the campaign group Global Witness.
Global Witness has showed evidence for illegal timber exported from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic to Europe, but the EU authorities haven’t taken any action. Moreover, an Interpol investigation is being required by Greenpeace, for a boat locked in a dock in Bilbao now that supposedly is full of illegal timber.
According to Interpol statistics, approximately $100 billion per year are lost in the illegal logging industry.
“There is no solid evidence to show that the due diligence system obligation so far has been effective in preventing illegally harvested timber and that operators across the EU have consistently implemented their due diligence requirements to date,” the EU Commission review states.
The law implies that only the first timber seller to the European market has to verify the legality of the product, making it difficult for the authorities to check the timber on its way.
A recent study released by the European Court of Auditors said that the EU law had been poorly designed, badly managed and largely ineffective, according to the Guardian, mostly because the government authorities don’t have the necessary resources to carry out the measures as they should.
The worst part of this issue is that nearly 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions are being caused by the illegal logging.
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