Rampant and massive deforestation is known to cause a significant negative impact on nature and humanity. Deforestation contributes to climate change, disrupts biodiversity and ecosystems, and affects the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide, particularly indigenous people whose land rights are often not respected. For this reason, the European Union (EU) enacted the EU Deforestation Regulation, which is a milestone in the preservation of nature and the respect for human rights. In this blog post, we will discuss how this Regulation is a positive step forward for indigenous community rights and environmental protection.
The new Deforestation Regulation prohibits the placing of commodities that result in deforestation into the EU market, starting in June 2023, sending a strong message that the EU is taking a stand against the loss of forests and the abuse of indigenous communities’ human rights. The Regulation covers commodities like palm oil, cocoa, soy, and beef – crops that are known to cause the most deforestation, help support corporate accountability and discourage the expansion of deforestation abroad. The legislation underscores the link between deforestation, land-use conflicts, and the violation of human rights, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples. By targeting product supply chains linked to deforestation, the Regulation seeks to address the demand side of the problem, making it a valuable tool for promoting the rights and interests of indigenous communities.
The Regulation also addresses the issue of mandatory due diligence, which is a game-changer for those who are leading the push for supply chains’ environmental and social responsibility. The Regulation obliges traders, importers, and producers to carry out due diligence procedures per their raw materials sourcing. The Deforestation Regulation will encourage companies to scrutinize their supply chains and ensure that no deforestation or any human rights violations are linked to their operations.
One of the ways the new Deforestation Regulation supports indigenous community rights is by encouraging the implementation of sustainable production practices. Under the legislation, products linked to deforestation must be certified as sustainably produced, which means that suppliers must work with indigenous communities to ensure that production practices are socially and environmentally responsible. This creates opportunities for indigenous communities to assert greater control over their lands and for their voices to be heard in decisions that impact their lives.
Moreover, iIndigenous communities that rely on forests for their livelihoods and way of live life have reasons to celebrate the Deforestation Regulation. Studies show that Indigenous communities’ land rights and their rights to freely practice their traditional hunting, fishing, and farming practices are better protected in areas that have strong land governance policies. Therefore, the Regulation’s positive impact is significant for many indigenous communities in areas such as the Amazon rainforest, the Congo Basin, or the International Union for Conservation of Nature‘s (IUCN) red list of threatened species, where secure land rights for these communities would help to halt large-scale deforestation.
The new legislation also demonstrates the EU’s strong leadership in fighting climate change and environmental degradation globally. The Regulation aligns with the EU’s commitment to the Paris Agreement climate targets, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and its Green Deal. In addition, the regulation provides a framework for all countries to work together to combat the global problem of deforestation. The EU engages partner countries in international dialogues to advance sustainability values and has made it clear that the Regulation will not be applied unfairly to developing countries but will encourage cooperation aimed at achieving common goals.
The new EU Deforestation Regulation is expected to have a positive impact on indigenous people’s human rights, environmental protection, global climate, and economic sustainability. The Regulation is a crucial step forward in corporate social responsibility, supply chain transparency and will drive more responsible production and consumption. The EU should be applauded for taking this step forward to achieve a sustainable and just future, setting an example for others to follow. However, the implementation of the Regulation must be carefully monitored to ensure compliance. As citizens, it is essential to support this Regulation and hold corporations, importers, traders, and producers who conduct illicit activities accountable.
What does the Regulation mean for business?
The new Regulation will have significant impacts on businesses, within the EU and outside of it. Companies that export products to the EU will need to demonstrate that their products are produced sustainably and do not contribute to deforestation. Failure to comply with the Regulation may lead to companies being banned from selling their products on the EU market. Additionally, businesses that operate within the EU will need to carry out due diligence reports on their supply chains to remain compliant with this Regulation.
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