Peter Wood, Natural Justice Associate, attended the 19th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation, 9-10 February in London. The meeting focussed on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), expected to come into force in March 2013, which could have far-reaching implications for the forest sector and forest dependent communities, as it is intended to eliminate illegally sourced wood products from the EU market. Some critics have suggested that by focussing too narrowly on screening for legality, EUTR and related efforts might enshrine socially unjust and environmentally destructive (yet legal) logging practices. Others claim that legality is a first and necessary step towards more progressive reforms.
Mary Hobley (consultant to UK’s DIFD) presented on Poverty and Social Safeguards in Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). She highlighted socially beneficial aspects of VPAs, including that they provide political space for deliberation on sensitive issues and re-assessment of the “rules of the game”, and help build civil society capacity to engage with policy development and implementation. She went into detail about attributes of effective social safeguards, noting that these can be preventative (in place before-the-fact, to avert conflict) or mitigative (capable of resolving conflict); and soft (process-based) or hard (legally enforceable). Lessons learned from the VPA process could be used to inform the development of effective safeguards within REDD+.
All presentations are available at the Chatham House website here.