Battle for biodiversity: France first to commit to saving the ancient forests. Germany next to join

Press release - 12 April, 2002

Forest destruction threat to biodiversity

Greenpeace received confirmation of the announcement by French President Jacques Chirac that France will take a leading role in the

fight against ancient forest destruction at the Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), currently taking place in The Hague. Subsequently, the

German Minister of Environment, Juergen Trittin, declared that his country joins France in taking this decisive step in shifting the trend of destruction of the ancient


Greenpeace called the move "an excellent example of leadership and vision". "We urge other countries to take up the challenge," said Gudrun Henne of Greenpeace.

"Only with the political will of all nations, can the current alarming rate of ancient forest destruction be brought to a halt."

The French and German governments have also announced that this issue will also be a high priority at the G-8 Environment Summit this weekend in Canada.

"As consumer countries, the G-8 have a special responsibility, they must support developing countries with significant funding and take international measures to stop

unsustainable trade," said Ludovic Frere, of Greenpeace France.

The French proposal provides the basis for the adoption of urgently needed measures to protect ancient forests, including:

· clear international objectives and co-operation on illegal logging and related trade,

· measures for sustainable use, such as green procurement and certification systems, and the elimination of perverse subsidies, and

· the establishment of networks of protected areas.(1)

"We hope the announcement of the French/German proposal will mark a U-turn in the negotiations in The Hague. We urge other countries to join and stop the

destruction of ancient forests," said Martin Kaiser of, Greenpeace Germany.

Notes: 1. Greenpeace welcomes the proposed creation of a working group on ancient forests that would bring together all stakeholders relevant for the survival of ancientforests. This working group would facilitate, monitor and further develop the implementation of the agreements reached at the Ancient Forest Summit in The Hague.