IPBES Report on Biodiversity Loss (International)

A new global report by the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published yesterday, finds that 1 million species are at risk of extinction — more than ever before in human history.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared by 145 leading experts from 50 countries, examines the causes of biodiversity and ecosystem change, the implications for people, as well as policy options and likely future pathways over the next three decades. It provides an integrated overview of where the world stands in relation to key international goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In addition to including more than 15,000 scientific and government sources, the report also cites indigenous and local knowledge.

Beginning with the UN Secretary General’s Summit in September and running through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2020, governments are now asked to present commitments.

The media release is here.

The Convention timeline to 2020 is here.

A major UK contribution is the UK Government Commission of Prof Dasgupta, University of Cambridge, to lead a UK government review of the economics of biodiversity. I Blog posted before about this announcement, made recently by the Chancellor.

Information about this Commission is here.

Timber Agreement (EU-Indonesia)

New EU-Indonesia bilateral agreement – technically a Voluntary Partnership Agreement – will see Indonesian timber and timber products systematically checked under an independently monitored traceability system to ensure they are produced in compliance with relevant Indonesian legislation.

Voluntary Partnership Agreements represent a key element of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, under which the EU aims to strengthen forest governance and contribute to global efforts to eliminate illegal logging and related trade.

Per the EU Press Release on this – illegal logging is a major problem in many developing countries, posing a significant threat to forests. It contributes to the process of deforestation and forest degradation, threatens biodiversity, and undermines sustainable forest management and development.

In March 2013 the EU Timber Regulation entered into force prohibiting the sale of illegally harvested timber. The EU Timber Regulation obliges EU operators to ask suppliers for evidence that timber has been legally harvested. Once fully implemented, the FLEGT agreement with Indonesia will mean that Indonesian timber exports are considered to be fully compliant with the EU Timber Regulation. In this way EU demand for legal timber is expected to reinforce Indonesia’s efforts to eliminate illegal logging.

Indonesia is already rolling out a timber legality verification system on which the agreement with the EU is based. Known as the SVLK system, it foresees checks at various levels to ensure that the scheme is transparent and credible.

The first Voluntary Partnership Agreement to be formally concluded was with Ghana, followed by Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Liberia and Central African Republic.. Negotiations are on-going with Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Guyana, Honduras, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Here is the EU guidance document on the EU Timber Regulation.

England’s Public Forest Estate

Consultation is occurring on the detail and functions of the new management body for England’s Public Forest Estate. This consultation deals with estate governance and funding, and the remit of the new body. New legislation will be required.

Background: The UK Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement January 2013 made a number of commitments to support the future of forests in England. One of the most important was that England’s Public Forest Estate would remain secured in public ownership.

The 2013 forestry policy statement also identified that Government would retain a core of forestry expertise with the capacity to deliver a range of functions, duties, and powers; and that it would work with devolved nations (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) to deliver cross-border functions such as research, standards, and tree health centrally where appropriate.