Long wait for "immediate" action

Feature story - 10 March, 2006
More than four years ago, East Asian governments promised to take “immediate” steps to stop illegal logging. Yet the Paradise Forests are no better off than they were on September 13, 2001 when delegates to the East Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) ministerial meeting promised to take action.

The Paradise Forests stretch from South East Asia, across the islands of Indonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.

Greenpeace has called on participating FLEG countries to put words intoaction and address the problem of illegal logging in the region -before it's too late.

Although the FLEG declaration promised to address forest crime atall levels, logs that have been illegally harvested still find theirway to countries like Japan and China. Some logs are used domestically,others are processed and sold on to markets in Europe and the USA,where demand for cheap timber and wood products is high.

FLEG must target both the producer countries (like PNG andIndonesia) and consumer countries (like China, Japan and the EU),ensuring governments prosecute individuals and companies involved inthe illegal timber trade.

The Paradise Forests are among some of the most heavily loggedareas on earth. Much of the intact areas of these forests have alreadybeen logged. In Indonesia the figure is as high as 72 percent, in Papua NewGuinea (PNG) it is 60 percent.

At this rate, the Paradise Forests and the unique plants and animals that live there could be gone in ten years.

Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, is on 'Forests Crime Patrol' fromPNG, through Indonesia and on to Japan to show that, despitecommitments from governments, illegal logging continues.

At the same time, our volunteers are living and working alongside locallandowners to showcase community forest solutions at the Global ForestRescue Station (GFRS) at Lake Murray in Western Province, PNG.

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