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Tropical Forest Day on 14 September

Tropical forest in Togo

14.09.2020 |

BERLIN – Tropical Forest Day on 14 September is an opportunity to draw international attention to the destruction of rainforests. 

Since 1990, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest have been lost – an area nearly as big as the EU. The loss of original rainforest is particularly dramatic. 

Last year, Brazil was the country with the highest rate of primary forest loss worldwide. Overall, forest loss is greatest in Africa. 

On the occasion of Tropical Forest Day, German Development Minister Müller said: "The lungs of our planet are under threat. The number of fires in the Amazon rainforest is higher than ever before. This year might become the most devastating year ever for this sensitive ecosystem. The destruction of our planet's rainforests through slash-and-burn methods in the Amazon region, the Congo Basin and Indonesia accounts for eleven per cent of global CO2 emissions.

"We finally have to stop the destruction of forests. To that end, we also have to build deforestation-free supply chains. Agriculture accounts for some 80 per cent of deforestation in tropical regions – mainly for livestock farming, palm oil and soya. In order to set up plantations at the lowest possible cost, people are burning the rainforest in Brazil and Indonesia. Palm oil is now part of one in two products in our supermarkets, for instance margarine, pizza and shampoo.

"Going for the cheapest product all the time ultimately comes at the expense of our natural environment and of human beings. So I am in favour of clear certification. Companies that want to import soya have to demonstrate that their soya has not been grown on areas where forests have been cut down. This takes pressure off our rainforests and protects our climate.

"We also have to put a much stronger focus on the implementation of sustainability requirements, for instance with regard to the Mercosur Agreement. The EU should ensure that the comprehensive sustainability commitments that have been agreed are really implemented. This would be a strong signal for climate-friendly and sustainable EU trade policies."

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