Incorporating international biodiversity law principles and rights perspective into the European Union Timber Regulation

Summary

This article assesses the synergies and conflicts between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), and the potential role of the CBD principles and rights perspective in improving coherence across these diverse forest-related agreements. We find that both the EUTR, which aims to eliminate illegal wood from EU supply chains, and the CBD, with its core focus on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, share the stated goals of safeguarding biodiversity and local livelihoods. However, the principle of inclusive governance and sustainable use embedded in the CBD conflicts with the EUTR. The EUTR focus on law enforcement asserts the primacy of state laws independently of their sustainability content and alignment with international human rights law. We find that the EUTR risks reinforcing legal frameworks that preference large-scale export production over local forest access, use and benefits. Better aligning the EUTR with CBD safeguards firstly requires opening-up the EUTR rule-making process to broader engagement with affected groups. Secondly, our analysis of both the procedural and substantive dimensions of the EUTR and the CBD safeguards, suggests that opportunities for better alignment lie in the nexus between procedural rights, of which law enforcement forms part of a broader vision of rule of law and conflict resolution, and the strengthening of substantive rights that benefit local forest use and conservation.

Information

Link to centre authors: Ituarte-Lima, Claudia
Publication info: Ituarte-Lima, C., Dupraz-Ardiot, A. & McDermott, C.L. 2019. Incorporating international biodiversity law principles and rights perspective into the European Union Timber Regulation. Int Environ Agreements (2019) 19: 255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-019-09439-6

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