Since 1970, the demand for palm oil has been increasing, irretrievably leading to large-scale cultivation. Such plantations have now become the most widespread agricultural monocultures in the tropics. From native Africa to Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, palm crops dominate the agricultural landscape. A large part of the palm expansion is seen in Indonesia and Malaysia. In 2000, these two countries had over 9.7 million cultivated hectares, followed by Nigeria. World Wildlife Fund Australia, the regional forum that best studied the devastating impact of the out-of-control cultivation of oil palms, showed the size of the ecological disaster. An area equivalent to approximately 300 football fields is cleared every hour (which means that the equivalent of six football fields is cleared every minute) to make room for new palm crops. The areas cleared in favour of plantations are habitats for many animal species that are highly valuable from an ecological point of view, amongst others.

What measures has the Commission taken with regard to the countries in the producing regions which export products to the EU in order to ensure that habitats are not affected by the expansion of oil palm plantations?