FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Join our online session “COVID-19’s effects on deforestation and possible responses through strengthening legality and sustainability”

WHEN: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 12:00-13:00 CEST

WHERE: Zoom, bit.ly/FOcovid (to receive the login details for the webinar series, please email [email protected])

LANGUAGE: Simultaneous interpretation in EN/ES/FR

The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic pose an unprecedented challenge not only to human health and health systems, but virtually every aspect of society including the economy, the environment, and even human interactions. The current crisis gives us a glimpse of what a longer-term climate catastrophe may look like if immediate action is not taken.

Within the complex and quickly evolving COVID-19 dynamic, forests play a critical role. They are a safety net for the most vulnerable members of society, providing food and medicines in times of scarcity and thereby increasing resilience to shocks. On the other hand, economic stress is likely to result in additional pressures on forests, making them more vulnerable to encroachment and overexploitation.

There are risks that countries’ hard-earned achievements in reducing deforestation, brought about in the framework of the UNFCCC and through investments to increase legal logging and trade in the framework of the EU FLEGT Action Plan, may be reversed if appropriate actions are not undertaken.

It is key that the aid and stimulus packages being prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic are designed in such a way that the appropriate safeguards are in place to guard against deforestation, support the most vulnerable, and continue to contribute to climate change mitigation.

Tropical forest countries have made significant progress to improve forest governance, increase transparency, strengthen forest monitoring and establish multi-stakeholder platforms in their efforts to tackle both illegal logging and deforestation. If stimulus packages build on these foundations, and are used to invest in forest protection, sustainable forest enterprises, or forest restoration, keeping in mind also the need to benefit women and other marginalized groups, there could be win-win situations for local employment, forests, and the climate.

This session will engage key actors to discuss the challenges countries face as a consequence of the current pandemic, and how to shape an economic recovery that capitalizes on the significant advances made to combat illegality and deforestation as part of a response to the dual COVID-19 and climate crises.

Opening Remarks: Ms Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs, REDD+ Team Leader, FAO

Special Guest Speaker:

Mr Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP25


  • Mr Edgar Emilio Rodriguez Bastidas, Director of Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia
  • Mr Chris Beeko, Director of the Timber Validation Department, Forestry Commission, Ghana
  • Mr David Ganz, Executive Director, RECOFTC

Moderator: Ms Serena Fortuna, Forestry Officer, FAO    

Closing remarks: Ms Daphne Hewitt, FAO-EU FLEGT Programme Team Leader, FAO          

For more information, please contact:  

Kristin DeValue ([email protected]);

Nevena Bakalar ([email protected]

The session is a part of FAO's COVID-19 Forestry Webinar Week "Building back better: COVID-19 pandemic recovery contributions from the forest sector". For more information about the week, please go to http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/cofo/covid-19-forestry-webinar-week/en/