Open letter: 50 CSOs call upon the Commission to evaluate the needs of smallholders and local communities to adapt to EU Deforestation Regulation

To prepare for the forthcoming EU deforestation-free products regulation, 50 signatories came together to voice their concern about the lack of consideration of the specific needs of smallholders and communities in the Global South.

« We welcome the Commission’s proposal – we believe it sets a high level of ambition to tackle global deforestation and forest degradation in EU supply chains. We strongly support its swift adoption and implementation.

However, we regret the absence of a thorough assessment of potential challenges smallholders and communities may face in the global South to comply with future EU market access requirements, and what must be done to respond to those challenges. »

The signatories of the letter, therefore, urge the Commission to order a thorough assessment of the challenges smallholders may face when implementing future EU requirements, and, on this basis, propose accompanying measures to support the implementation of the regulation. In particular, such a study should address the following elements:

  • Analysis of the structure and specificities of smallholder-intensive sectors, as well as local differences and characteristics of defining smallholders. Such analysis should evaluate the magnitude of indirect suppliers in concerned supply chains.
  • Assessment of the costs and capacities for smallholders to comply with new EU market access requirements.
  • Identification of which requirements of the EU regulation are likely to pose challenges for compliance within relevant producer countries and sectors.
  • Identification of which specific smallholders/communities in relevant countries are currently at risk of not being able to comply with the EU regulation. To that end, specific attention should be given to quantify the number of smallholders who have legally deforested after the proposed cut-off date (31 December 2020).
  • Identification of required support measures to respond to challenges faced by smallholders, definition of a clear, time-bound action plan and earmarking of specific financial resources to support it.