FERN-The ‘Greenest’ Commission that Europe has ever seen?



From 30 September - 8 October 2019, newly elected Members of the European Parliament grilled the 26 nominees for the European Commission, to evaluate their “general competence and independence, but also their European commitment”. Fern followed the Commissioners’ hearings through the “forest lens”.



Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuania’s 28-year-old nominee for the Commission’s Environment and Oceans portfolio, put biodiversity, the circular economy, oceans, fisheries and zero pollution on his list of priorities. Yet he forgot to prioritise forests and failed to explain what the EU should do to curb deforestation caused by our consumption of forest-risk commodities.



Asked how he would to tackle deforestation, he replied vaguely that the EU needs deforestation-free supply chains, to be achieved through improved monitoring mechanisms and labelling. He didn’t elaborate on plans to implement the recent EU Communication on stepping up action to address deforestation and restore the world’s forests, which should be a key guide for the new Commission. It remains to be seen whether Sinkevičius will help fulfil the promise that this would be the greenest Commission Europe has ever seen.



The performance of Janusz Wojciechowski, the Polish candidate for the Agriculture portfolio was weak and vague. He claimed to support small farmers who maintain a low density of animals and use feed from their own farm, rather than imports of soy from Brazil or Argentina, yet provided no substance about his plans regarding forests. When concerns were raised about the impact of the Mercosur (FW 248) and Vietnam Free Trade Agreements, he replied that farmers should not be a victim of international trade.



It was unsettling that the Commissioner-designate for Trade Phil Hogan said he did not imagine the bloc would advise Europeans to eat less meat, although meat consumption helps drive forest destruction, and climate experts agree that “drastic change” is needed to combat climate change. He also felt that Europe was not lacking Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIA) despite the SIA for the Mercosur trade deal that was concluded last June still being available (FW 247). More positively, in response to MEP Heidi Hautala’s question about mandatory due diligence regarding deforestation, he said he would support such legislation.



Energy Commissioner-elect Kadri Simson managed to say very little during the energy committee hearing on 3 October. The biggest excitement came when one MEP let Simson know the breaking news that Estonia had changed its mind and decided to back EU carbon neutrality by 2050. Little was said about how the EU would achieve its climate and energy aims, but Simson reiterated that the European Green Deal would be a political priority.




Go back


SWM Programme - Newsletter Issue 3 - July to October 2019

The third issue of the newsletter of the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme has just been published. This issue presents the latest progress in the implementation of the programme from July to October 2019 across the thirteen countries covered by the Programme in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of States.

Read more …

Forest Watch The latest forest news November 2019

Read : Murder and illegal logging within the EU: Strong action is needed; Cocoa update: farmers in West Africa could benefit from higher cocoa prices; calls intensify for EU regulation; Support solidifies for an EU Due Diligence Regulation; BLOG: The Amazon and the Congo Basin: the same threats, the same battles...

Read more …

Coming full circle: Cameroon follows in footsteps of CAR and Chad, signs Specific Protocols!

It all began in December 2016 in Douala, Cameroon with the 1st Meeting of Country Experts in Cameroon, the CAR and Chad on the Development of Specific Protocols (SP) relating to the BSB Bi-national and Tripartite agreements on the fight against transboundary poaching, notably the Specific Anti-poaching Protocol  relating to the N’Djamena Tripartite Agreement between Cameroon, the CAR and Chad and the Specific Eco-development Protocol relating to the Bi-national  Cooperation Agreement between Cameroon and Chad.

Read more …

ITTO- More collaboration and participation needed to achieve the SFM in the Congo Basin

The Tokyo International Conference on development in Africa (TICAD) is an international meeting hosted by the Japanese government and jointly sponsored by the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program, the African Union Commission and the World Bank. Taking the floor during the opening of this ITTO event, Ms. Matondo pointed out that international partners can help the Congo Basin population to overcome various hurdles impeding the sub-region’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 1 (zero poverty) 13 (Measures to combat climate change) and 15 (land life) using innovative technology, know-how, entrepreneurship and capacity building.

Read more …

COMIFAC- Shanghai international forum: COMIFAC goes on charm offensive

Shanghai, Republic of China, 21-25 October 2019- More than three hundred and fifty delegates including about sixty members of the International Technical Tropical Timber Association (ITTTA), sixty conference speakers and panelists took part in the 21st ITTTA forum. COMIFAC was represented at the gathering by Mr. Georges Moucharou, 2nd Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and representative of the Acting President, Raymond Ndomba Ngoye, Executive Secretary and Mr. Valery Tchuante, a monitoring and evaluation expert.

Read more …

COMIFAC member countries make progress and develop innovations in implementing Nagoya Protocol

30 September to 1st October 2019, Douala Cameroon-: Sub-regional experience-sharing forum on ABS held between COMIFAC researchers and the Japanese private sector.

Read more …

African biodiversity highly valued at sub-regional experience-sharing forum on ABS between COMIFAC researchers and the Japanese private sector.

Douala, Cameroon, 30 September- 1st October 2019 “The sub-regional Convergence Plan projects a 25% increase in absolute terms in the forestry-environment sector’s contribution to the GDP of the COMIFAC countries by 2025” said Mr. Ludovic ITSOUA MADZOUS, Deputy Executive Secretary of COMIFAC, as he welcomed the holding of the first meeting between a developed country and researchers of the Central African countries.

Read more …

Preparatory workshop of the 18 December Civil Society Day within the framework of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP).

Saturday, 2 November 2019, End and closing of the preparatory workshop of the 18 December Civil Society Day held within the framework of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP).


Read more …

CBFP News Archive


BCC 2020 Save the Date!
Forest Watch October 2019
World Bamboo Day
China goes green again!
GEF Newsletter | June 2019
The Cafi Dialogues
Forest Watch April 2019
Forest Watch March 2019