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Ochrona przyrody | 24 października 2022

Implementation and Enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation in Poland
Ochrona przyrody

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Implementation and Enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation in Poland

Title: Analysis of the Implementation and Enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation in Poland

Author: Ranja Łuszczek

Date: October 2022

Description: In November 2021, the European Commission published the results of a fitness check it conducted to assess the EU’s rules on illegal logging, including the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) – the main tool in the EU’s framework to address illegal logging. While the Commission found that the EUTR has had some success in tackling illegal logging, the results of the fitness check pointed out several shortcomings and challenges that undermine the EUTR’s impact. At the same time as the publication of the fitness check results, the Commission also published its proposal for a new EU regulation on deforestation-free products (Deforestation Proposal) that will eventually replace and repeal the current EUTR. The ongoing EU legislative process for the Deforestation Proposal offers a tremendous opportunity for EU decision-makers to learn from and address the gaps identified in the EUTR as well as its associated implementation and enforcement challenges. To support this effort, this report aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the implementation and enforcement of the EUTR in Poland to identify critical weaknesses in the EUTR framework so that lessons can be learned, and the identified gaps can be addressed in the Deforestation Proposal and its eventual implementation and enforcement.

Poland is a particularly relevant country in which to investigate the effectiveness of the EUTR: over a quarter of Poland is covered by forest and almost 80% of forests are state-owned and managed by a government organization – State Forests National Forest Holding (Państwowe Gospodarstwo Leśne Lasy Państwowe) – on behalf of the Polish State Treasury. This makes a state-owned entity the largest timber operator subject to the requirements of the EUTR in Poland. It is, therefore, of particular interest to verify whether Poland is capable of balancing the economic use of public forests and fulfilling its responsibility to protect them by properly enforcing the EUTR and other forest-related legislation, including the conduct of monitoring and enforcement activities against State Forests (and therefore, effectively, against itself).