Press release / 6 May 2019

Calling upon candidate EU Members of Parliament to protect forests, its people an biodiversity

Almost 100 candidate EU Members of Parliament have signed a pledge drafted and endorsed by European NGOs and prominent individuals in which they commit  - once elected - to promoting policies to protect and restore forests worldwide and to recognising and securing forest peoples’ territories and their rights, including the rights of women, for generations to come. The organisers hope to get many more signatures before the EU elections, to make sure the new EU parliament will start treating these topics with high urgency as soon as it is installed.

The pledge:

Imagine a world without forests. Natural forests are the basis of life itself. They create soil, maintain the water cycle and are a vast source of nutrients. They make the weather, cool the climate and protect us from hurricanes, droughts and floods, which are intensifying as the planet warms up. They feed and shelter more creatures than we can count.

They are a home to 300 million forest people, sustain a diversity of cultures and provide livelihoods for one fifth of humanity. Spending even a short time in a forest can improve your mental and physical health by reducing blood pressure and stress.

They inspire our children, offering the starting point of many of our most cherished fairy tales, folklores and myths. Healthy forests can also boost economies, by supporting tourism and providing everything from timber to fruit and nuts to vegetables, fish, meat and medicine.

Yet the threats against them are multiplying – in 2017 we lost more trees than in almost any year on record. EU finance and imports of timber, palm oil, soy, beef, paper, cocoa and other commodities are causing vast deforestation and forest degradation. In many places, forests are being converted to tree plantations, losing their value for people, climate and nature.

In the EU, forests are losing carbon fast, in part due to increased harvesting for bioenergy. Even the most valuable primary forests are not spared, even when they sit in protected areas.

Continuing on this path of destruction will put globally-agreed targets to limit climate change definitively out of reach. The world over, scientists are saying that forests must be protected and restored, because of their important role in sequestering and storing carbon.

The EU has both the power and responsibility to make a real difference. I therefore pledge that if I am elected as a Member of the European Parliament, I will promote policies to protect and restore forests worldwide and recognise and secure forest peoples’ territories and their rights, including the rights of women, for generations to come.

More information about the pledge and about the signing candidates::

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