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Announcement: President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging

by webadmin last modified Jan 10, 2013 07:42 AM
President Bush Discusses New Initiative to Stop Illegal Logging Statement by the President:

In his speech, US President George W Bush announced, "(Today) my Administration has announced a new international initiative to help developing countries stop illegal logging. Illegal logging destroys biodiversity and hundreds of thousands of acres of forest habitat annually. It releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Last year, I directed Secretary Powell to develop a plan to address this serious issue. I thank him for his efforts in establishing this initiative. Working with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other nations, the United States will help identify and reduce threats to protected forest areas and other high value conservation forests. These efforts will serve as a foundation for future actions to eliminate illegal logging, corruption in the forest sector, and the sale - including for export - of illegally harvested timber products. They will also help us protect forests and the livelihoods that depend upon them."

BACKGROUND: The President's Initiative against Illegal Logging is the most comprehensive strategy yet undertaken by any nation to address this critical sustainable development challenge and reinforces the U.S. leadership role in taking action to counter the problem.

The new initiative was developed at the direction of President Bush with the objective of assisting developing countries in their efforts to combat illegal logging, including the sale and export of illegally harvested timber, and in fighting corruption in the forest sector. The initiative focuses on three critical regions -- the Congo Basin, the Amazon Basin and Central America and South and Southeast Asia -- and will emphasize four key strategies:

* Good Governance -- Building country capacity to establish and strengthen legal regimes and enforcement of laws affecting forest management, especially those aimed at illegal logging;
* Community-Based Actions -- Enhancing community involvement in forest governance and related wildlife issues;
* Technology Transfer -- Developing integrated monitoring systems and building in-country capacity to monitor forest activity and compliance with laws, including using remote-sensing and ground-based technologies to monitor changes in forest conditions;
* Harnessing Market Forces -- Promoting good business practices, transparent markets and legal trade, including country capacity to implement obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Current actions (FY05) supported by the United States to address illegal logging around the world total up to $15 million. These efforts will build the foundation for future action with partner countries and stakeholders.

Illegal logging destroys forest ecosystems, robs national governments and local communities of needed revenues, under prices legally harvested forest products on the world market, finances regional conflict and acts as a disincentive to sustainable forest management. The World Bank estimates that illegal logging results in annual losses of $10 - $15 billion in developing countries.

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