Brazilian environmental groups urged the European Union to pass aggressive legislation banning all imports linked to deforestation
Credits: TARSO SARRAF / AFP

Brazilian environmental groups urged the European Union to pass aggressive legislation banning all imports linked to deforestation

Brazilian environmental groups urged the European Union on Monday to pass aggressive legislation banning all imports linked to deforestation, criticizing "gaps" in a draft bill.

The letter from the 34 organizations comes as EU environment ministers prepare to meet Thursday in Brussels on a proposal to ban products that fuel deforestation, which would slap controls on imports including beef, soy, palm oil, cocoa and coffee.

The groups said the draft proposal is "necessary and positive," but needs "improvements" to truly fight deforestation in exporting countries such as Brazil, home to 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest and a leading exporter of many of those products.

"Deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems must be eradicated if humanity is to stand a chance of stabilizing global warming," said the letter, signed by groups including the World Wildlife Fund Brazil office, the Climate Observatory and The Nature Conservancy.

They said the draft plan, presented in November, defines "forests" too narrowly. It excludes the majority of several key ecosystems in Brazil, including the Pantanal wetlands, the Cerrado savannah and the Pampa lowlands, they said.

They also called for "firm assurances" on human rights, particularly to ensure that agribusiness is not pushing indigenous peoples from their lands.

The EU is among the first to draft such legislation since 141 countries signed the so-called Glasgow Declaration, a pledge to "halt and reverse" deforestation by 2030.

Brazil was among the signatories to the voluntary pledge, launched at the UN climate summit last November.

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