On October 27 in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, Virginijus Sinkevičus, the European Commissioner for the European Union’s Economic and Monetary Affairs. environment, oceans and fisheries, signed an action plan establishing a forest partnership between the European Union and Congo. The agreement aims to halt deforestation and forest degradation in Africa in accordance with the principles of the EU Deforestation Regulation and implement solutions for sustainable forest management.

Forest partnership between the EU and Congo

The action plan implementing the forest partnership between the European Union and Congo was developed by a team of representatives from all stakeholders. It presents actions and measures to protect and manage Congo’s tropical forests according to values consistent with the EU Deforestation Regulation. This is primarily about the requirement to geolocate various activities related to Congo’s forests, to include small farmers in these rules as well, while promoting the development of agriculture and forestry. The development of traceability systems with high standards is also an important aspect.

The Forest Partnership Implementation Plan was signed on the sidelines of the Three Basins of Biodiversity Ecosystems and Tropical Forests Summit. The event brought together government representatives, organizations and experts to work together to protect climate-critical ecosystems such as the Amazon basin, the Congo rainforest and the Borneo-Mekong in Southeast Asia. These three regions concentrate 2/3 of the planet’s biodiversity. They also absorb a huge portion of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, so they are extremely important in the fight against climate change.

European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičus said at the summit that tropical forests are the world’s life-support system, so efforts should be made to use them sustainably to protect biodiversity and combat climate change. At the same time, it is very important that people who depend on forest products have a livelihood. The signed action plan is intended to help achieve these goals by addressing the degradation of Congo’s forests and introducing sustainable forest management principles.

Forest partnership
Forest partnership between the European Union and Congo 1

Forest partnerships are part of EU climate policy

At the COP26 climate summit in 2021. The EU has announced the establishment of cooperation related to tropical forest areas. The goal of these partnerships is to mitigate progressive climate change and preserve biodiversity while developing solutions that meet the economic needs of local communities. A year later, at the COP27 summit, the EU and the Republic of Congo developed and signed arrangements defining a forest partnership.

EU forest partnerships are designed to support forest management. The introduction of sustainable value chains creates new jobs for local people and reduces forest degradation and deforestation. It is also a pathway to legal and sustainable trade in forest products. EU deforestation regulation of June 2023. sets out due diligence obligations for companies that market goods and products related to tropical deforestation in Europe.

Congo’s tropical forests are absorbing less and lessCO2 – forest partnership is necessary for climate good

The tropical forests of the Amazon, Congo and Asia are the lungs of the Earth. Unfortunately, all these areas are struggling with deforestation and degradation, so they are absorbing less and lessCO2 from the atmosphere. Therainforest located on the Congo River is the second largest in the world, after therainforest on the Amazon. Areas of the Congo were particularly heavily deforested in the 1990s; fortunately, deforestation has begun to stop, and since 2000. gradually decline in favor of the population’s interest in the mining industry. Despite this, Congolese forests are gradually beginning to lose their ability to absorbCO2, according to a study published in the journalNature. The forest partnership between the EU and Congo is thus an obvious component of the European Union’s climate policy.

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