Beyond Borders: The European Union's Legislative Approach in Regulating Deforestation

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska fakulteten; Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: Deforestation and forest degradation is an environmental phenomenon affecting the entire world. In 2021 the EU Commission proposed a Regulation on Deforestation-free Products, which is expected to repeal the EU Timber Regulation in 2023. This study analyzes two of the previous legal policies implemented by the EU to curb deforestation: the FLEGT Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation. The methodological approach combines the legal doctrinal method and the legal comparative method to analyze the definition of illegal deforestation and the scope of the mandatory due diligence. In relation to the definition of illegal deforestation, this research studies the case of Brazil as an example of local environmental standards in third countries. As for the mandatory due diligence, it reviews the interpretation provided by the Administrative Court of Jönköping in two cases concerning the import of timber to Sweden. This thesis concludes that the role of the EU as an environmental regulator in deforestation matters has been characterized by the implementation of local regulations with extraterritorial effects. Both the FLEGT Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation have promising features in relation to forest protection. However, several factors hampered its effectiveness. The new EU Regulation on Deforestation-free Products addresses some of the deficiencies found in the implementation of the mandatory due diligence. However, the broad definition of deforestation-free products can become a legal loophole, as shown in the case of Brazil.

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