CSOs recommendations to make the EU regulation on deforestation-free products work for smallholders and forest communities
As the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU are negotiating a compromise on the EU regulation on deforestation-free products, we call upon them to maintain a high level of ambition and refrain from any harmful trade offs. The undersigned CSOs have at heart to ensure that the realities and needs of smallholders and forest communities are taken into account, to ensure an effective implementation of the future EU requirements. We welcome the game-changing amendments introduced by the Parliament, which have the potential to enable an inclusive implementation of the regulation in smallholder-intensive sectors.
Therefore, we urge the negotiators to support the Parliament’s call to include the following elements
in the final regulation:
- Including human rights protected under international law in the scope of the regulation, in particular instruments protecting customary tenure rights and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No 169, 1989). Ensuring that these rights are respected is crucial to tackle global deforestation.
- Ensuring that the costs of compliance are not pushed down to smallholders, and that they are shared fairly amongst supply chains’ actors, in accordance with their respective capacities
- Including an obligation for operators to undertake reasonable and documented efforts to support the compliance of smallholders’ products in line with the requirements set out in the regulation. It implies adequate assistance such as investments, capacity-building, as well as fair pricing mechanisms – which are essential to address structural underlying patterns that prevent smallholders from producing in a sustainable and deforestation-free way.
- Outlining an obligation for operators to engage meaningfully with vulnerable stakeholders in their supply chains, such as smallholders, forest communities, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, to inform their due diligence process.
- Including a reference to a comprehensive and time-bound strategy on supply side measures to be developed by the Commission, with specific attention to the needs of smallholders and forest communities to transition towards sustainable farming and forestry practices, and produce compliant products according to the requirements of the regulation.
Shaping a smallholder-inclusive EU regulation is the prerequisite for a future-proof and fair regulatory framework that can effectively reduce global deforestation, while ensuring no one is left behind.