Logging Ban must include forest communities in decision making for effective implementation

Press release - January 19, 2011
Greenpeace today commended President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s initiative to introduce a nationwide log ban and called upon him to be resolute and demonstrate that the Executive Order to implement such a ban ensures a tangible improvement in forest governance and law enforcement.

“Together with the logging ban, it is important that the Executive Order also considers a participatory land use planning process based on the needs and rights of forest dependent communities with a view to protecting the climate and biodiversity.  For the ban to be effective, investment in alternatives to logging that will support local development and sustainable forest use for the benefit of local communities is critical.  This can be achieved by establishing and ensuring the participatory management of protected forest areas, ” said Mark Dia, Philippine Country Representative of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Forest destruction contributes one-fifth of the total global emissions – more than the emissions from cars, planes and trains around the world combined.

Last year, Greenpeace and other member organizations of the EcoWaste Coalition held a survey – the Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) – among Presidential aspirants, regarding their intentions for the environment.  Aquino had promised very concrete steps to stop illegal logging and curb the corruption that allowed loggers to circumvent environmental protection laws.  Aquino had indicated that his administration would “engage the police and military authorities, local communities and local government agencies in a sustained, vigorous campaign to seize illegally cut logs and prevent further clearing of primary forests.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte had announced last weekend that the President is considering the possibility of an executive order for a total log ban nationwide.  The announcement was made following recent devastation brought about by heavy rains in a number of vulnerable areas in the country that suffered landslides and other debilitating effects from extreme weather events, soil erosion and other impacts of environmental degradation.

According to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), droughts and typhoons will intensify, putting the most vulnerable and least prepared countries at greater risk to impacts of climate change.  The Philippines has been ranked as seventh in a list of ten countries most vulnerable to extreme weather events [1].

Dia added that Aquino had made the commitment in the GEI survey that, for his first 100 days in office, he would push ‘to enact a law, as mandated by the Constitution, to delineate once and for all forest lines in the country, as a clear basis for crafting a comprehensive national land use policy, as well as for the definition of watersheds and fragile ecosystems.’

“We should all hold the President to these promises he made because it will affect all of us, rich or poor.  We are already feeling the effects of climate change in our daily lives.  Both the science and people’s experiences on the ground are overtaking earlier predictions made regarding the impacts of climate change.  But the solutions are all already before us.  The only thing needed is political will and cooperation among people, government and industry.  The survival of humanity should take precedence over profit, power or greed.  But steadfast leadership and cooperation will surely get us there,” Dia concluded.

Notes for Editors:

[1] According to the latest Climate Risk Index of Germanwatch, the Philippines is ranked seventh in terms of Long Term Climate Risk, based on data from 1990 to 2009, also ranking third in a list of ten Most Affected Countries in 2009. Briefing Paper: Global Climate Risk Index 2011, Germanwatch, 16 December 2010. http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/cri2011.pdf

 

Contact Information:

  • Mark Dia, Country Representative, +63 917 843 0549, +63 2 414 6512 loc 115,
  • JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +63 917 631 2750, +63 2 414 6512 loc 121,

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