On November 26, 2018, the European Commission announced it will produce a Communication on combating deforestation and forest degradation in 2019. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Director of EU Strategic Relations Janice Weatherley-Singh released the following statement:

“As deforestation continues to threaten wildlife, the climate, and people’s livelihoods around the world, we are encouraged by the European Commission’s decision to create an EU Communication to combat Deforestation. This is a global problem that requires bold international leadership.

“But this initiative cannot be only talk. WCS urges the Commission to recommend specific legislative measures to support forest conservation, including measures to prevent EU member countries from importing commodities associated with tropical deforestation. There are also EU companies that benefit from financial transfers associated with deforestation, so the financing of forest destruction must also be addressed.

“We also hope that the Commission will place a special focus on intact forests, which are disappearing at twice the rate of forests overall. Less than a quarter of the world’s remaining forests can be defined as intact—meaning large areas of primary forests that are free of significant human-caused degradation. Intact forests play a crucial role in slowing climate change and protecting biodiversity, water supply, and indigenous livelihoods.

“We thank the Commission for taking this step forward, and look forward to working with it to create a Communication that safeguards forests and the tremendous benefits for people and wildlife that they provide.”