European Parliament backs the protection of roadfree areas

October 23 2013

The European Parliament has backed two proposals by MEP Kriton Arsenis to take action against the construction of new roads in intact forests.

Strasbourg, October 24, 2013

The European Parliament has backed two proposals by MEP Kriton Arsenis to take action against the construction of new roads in intact forests.

With the October 23rd adoption of the Motion for a Resolution [1] on the climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19), the European Parliament has agreed to raise the issue of roadbuilding in intact forests at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held next month in Warsaw (Poland); it calls on parties to use the existence of roads in forest areas as an early negative performance indicator of REDD+ projects, and to prioritise the allocation of REDD+ funds towards road free forests.

At the same time, the European Parliament has decided to allocate 1.2 Million Euros for further research on the benefits of protecting road free intact forests. The pilot project [2] which was approved on October 23rd will be implemented within 2014 and will finance the production of up-to-date global maps of roadfree areas on the basis of the best spatial data available, and the creation of a prediction model of deforestation and forest degradation based on the existence of roads in a forest. The research program is expected to lead to a set of innovative recommendations for better forest governance.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, MEP Kriton Arsenis [3] said:

"It takes just one road to destroy a forest. More than 95% of deforestation, fires and atmospheric carbon emissions in the Brazilian Amazon occur within 50 kilometres of a road [4]. I am proud to see the European Parliament being the first political institution to address this issue. This decision marks an important step towards the recognition of the impacts of roadbuilding on the Earth's last intact forest areas and the necessity to keep these areas free of roads ".

He added: "In times when funding for environmental protection is scarce, keeping intact forests free of roads is a remarkably cost efficient way of protecting biodiversity, and fighting climate change and an antidote to slow political decision making".



[1] Motion for a Resolution on the climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19): Amendments 1 and 2

[2] Compromise package for Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions 2014: Amendments 404, 544 " Making efficient use of EU climate finance - using roads as an early performance indicator"

[3] Kriton Arsenis is Member of the European Parliament since 2009. He has promoted the protection ofroad free forests at international conferences since 2012, including co-organising events at the Rio+20 Summit and at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, along with partners such as Google, UNEP, IUCN, the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), European Environmental Agency (EEA), and the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education, Tebtebba.

[4] William F. Laurance and Andrew Balmford. A global map for road building. 308 | NATURE | VOL 495 | 21 MARCH 2013