Illegal logging: governments fail, Greenpeace takes action

Feature story - 16 February, 2004
The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior discovered barges loaded with hundreds of logs soon to be exported from Indonesia and suspected to have been extracted illegally. The logs come from a region that includes the Tanjung Puting National Park -- home of dwindling numbers of orang-utans where logging is forbidden. Four activists from the UK, the Philippines, the US and Papua New Guinea displayed a banner with the message "Stop Forest Crime" on one of the log barges in central Kalimantan.

A Greenpeace campaigner watches as plywood is loaded on to a Maltese bulk carrier, The Greveno, anchored near the mouth of Lamandau River, on the west side of Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan

We have two ships now on patrol -- the Arctic Sunrise in Chile and the Rainbow Warrior off the coast of Kalimantan in Indonesia. Both are documenting the continuing destruction of Ancient Forests, while governments talk, and talk, and talk about the future of Life on Earth at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"We're doing the job that governments are failing to do," said Stephen Campbell of Greenpeace, speaking from the Rainbow Warrior. "The world's oceans and forests are in crisis but the international community has failed to take serious steps in the 12 years since the Rio summit to really protect life on earth."

The second week of the UN meeting of the Convention of Biological Diversity starts today. Governments have not yet agreed on concrete actions that will protect the Earth's biodiversity and stop the ongoing destruction of ancient forests from illegal logging.

About 80 percent of Indonesia's timber exports are illegal. Important markets such as China, the EU and the USA import illegal rainforest timber. Producer countries such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia are being logged illegally because of the demand for timber and the lack of proper enforcement of Forestry legislation.

We are highlighting the plight of the world's last remaining ancient forests and the depletion of the oceans during the summit for life on Earth-the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity- which is currently taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Governments have a responsibility to protect life in all its diversity, indigenous people's rights and cultural variety. World governments must invest in protection and ban large-scale industrial activity in all sensitive areas, establishing a network of land and marine protected areas with effective law enforcement and management.

More information

See Video of this action in Quicktime, Windows Media, or Real format.

Check out the live weblog from the Rainbow Warrior, on forest patrol in Indonesia.

Check out the live weblog from the Arctic Sunrise, on forest patrol in Patagonia.

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