BRUSSELS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- European lawmakers approved a measure calling for a voluntary partnership with Congo and Cameroon to stop illegal logging, the European Parliament said.
The European Parliament's International Trade Committee approved a measure for the voluntary agreement on illegal logging, which the government said was a major cause of deforestation.
Voluntary partnerships are part of the foundation of a 2003 action plan describing law enforcement in the forestry sector.
Lawmakers in the European Parliament said Cameroon and Congo are some of the largest exporters of hardwood to the eurozone, though they are also the source of a large part of illegally harvested timber.
The measure calls for financial and technical resources to support the verification of legal timber, but because the partnership is voluntary, lawmakers urged the European government to "think about substantial financial support."
The legislation aims to ensure that all timber exported from Congo and Cameroon is legal, which lawmakers said would protect the environment and curb biodiversity loss.
European lawmakers urged the government to work on agreements that prevent "expansion of the industrial exploitation of forests in the intact forest zones that are carbon-rich and in other forests that play a valuable role in conserving biodiversity."