East Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance process shows little progress and poor commitment

Feature story - March 11, 2006
Upon the conclusion of the East Asia and Pacific Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG), Greenpeace raises the alarm of the need for governments to get serious about the problem of illegal logging before it's too late.

Trees trunks are reflected on a water surface on Lake Murray.

Greenpeace today expressed disappointment and frustration at the outcome of the East Asia and Pacific Forest Law Enforcement  and Governance (FLEG) meeting, that concluded in Manila on Thursday, saying governments need to get serious about the problem of illegal logging before it's too late.

"Despite some very limited progress, the meeting was seriously hampered  by the non attendance of some critical countries", said Greenpeace International forest campaigner Stephen Campbell. "Papua New Guinea, one of the most critical producer countries, and Japan and China, two of the key importer countries, were not in attendance at this meeting. They are all signatories to the Bali declaration of September 23, 2001, but they were absent from this critical forum".

Ministers from Asia Pacific governments at the Bali meeting declared to "take immediate action to intensify national efforts, and strengthen bilateral, regional and multilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime, in particular illegal logging, associated illegal trade and corruption, and their negative effects on the rule of law".  However, The Paradise Forests of the Asia Pacific are no better off than they were four and a half years ago.

"If major timber importing countries like Japan and China, and a major timber producing country like Papua New Guinea, fail to show up at these sort of meetings it is very hard for us to take their commitment to the FLEG process seriously," Mr. Campbell said.

The FLEG Task force has agreed to proceed to a ministerial to check progress and reaffirm commitment sometime in 2006.

"This is a good outcome in one sense" said Campbell "as it allows the Ministers to affirm their commitment. However, we feel that the process will have little to show them in the way of progress unless countries start to implement the Bali action plan as a matter of urgency".

"We call on all governments in the region planning on attending the proposed FLEG ministerial meeting later this year to get serious about tackling illegal logging in the region.  There has been a lot of fine words but no action.  The Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific are running out of time."

Participation was welcome from Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the UK, Cambodia and the Philippines and many International and National NGO's.

Contact Information:

Stephen Campbell, Greenpeace International Forest Campaigner. (M) +61 419 227 695

Tiy Chung, Greenpeace Asia Pacific Communications Officer. (M) +61 409  604 010

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