Tropical deforestation: UK Government reacts to letter by CIPÓ and coalition of indigenous groups, scientists & NGOs urging action

With deforestation still at record levels and fires burning in the Amazon, on World Amazon Day (September 5), Plataforma CIPÓ, together with a coalition of NGOs, Indigenous People’s groups, scientists and academics urged the UK Prime Minister to act on tropical deforestation.

In Brazil, the Congress is currently considering new legislation that would legalize illegal land grabbing in the Amazon. Such destruction of the Amazon has dire implications for the Amazon’s Indigenous peoples and local communities, and for global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change. The UK Government has a unique opportunity to act to reduce these impacts in the scope of its Environmental Bill, which is being considered by the UK Parliament.

Our letter to the Prime Minister sends a clear message that the current proposals in the Environment Bill do not go far enough and calls for five key changes to strengthen the Bill:

  • Ensure that UK forest risk commodity supply chains are not complicit in any form of deforestation – not just deforestation which is defined as illegal under producer country laws;
  • Address the role of UK finance in deforestation;
  • Ensure UK businesses act in accordance with the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as set out under international law;
  • Strengthen the review mechanism to ensure that the due diligence framework, its implementation, and enforcement are progressively improved;
  • Adopt a requirement to introduce a target to significantly reduce the UK’s global environmental footprint by 2030.

In March 2022, the UK government’s responded to the civil society letter via its Environment Minister, Zac Goldsmith, who stated: “I understand your view that illegality is too low a bar for the legislation and that we risk tying our hands in countries with permissive legal systems. The Government’s view is that respecting the laws of Government in the countries where these products are grown and supporting their efforts offers the best path to long-term sustainability and – crucially – to forming alliances with other consumer countries. Deforestation is a global issue that requires global collaboration. We are committed to regular review which will help us ensure these provisions are effective. If laws in forested nations are devalued such that activities that are currently illegal become legal in order to circumnavigate our own due diligence laws, then we will take action.

Plataforma CIPÓ
Plataforma CIPÓ
Plataforma CIPÓ is an independent, women-led policy institute focusing on climate, governance, and peacebuilding in Latin America and the Caribbean and, more generally, the Global South.



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