Ending Global Deforestation: Policy Options for Consumer Countries
Illegal logging and the international trade in illegal timber is a major problem for many timber-producing countries, especially in the developing world. It causes environmental damage, costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, promotes corruption, and undermines the rule of law and good governance. Consumer countries contribute to these problems by importing timber and wood products without ensuring that they are legally sourced. In recent years, however, producer and consumer countries alike have paid increasing attention to illegal logging and its associated trade, and are seeking to tackle the issue.
13th November 2013
Efforts to tackle illegal logging and improve forest governance over the past ten years have included measures aimed at excluding illegal timber from consumer-country markets, including public procurement policy, bilateral agreements introducing licensing systems, and legal and company due diligence requirements.
Clearance for agriculture is a far more significant global driver of deforestation, and consumer countries similarly provide markets for exports of illegal and unsustainable agricultural commodities; the main EU imports of commodities associated with deforestation are palm oil, soy, beef and leather, and cocoa.
The report considers the feasibility of applying the same kind of consumer-country measures that have been used with effect to exclude illegal timber to agricultural commodity supply chains.
Measures considered include public procurement policy, differential tariffs, other government regulations (such as biofuels), bilateral agreements, requirements on companies, due diligence in finance and investment, and working with the private sector.
Chatham House - independent thinking on international affairs
Since 2000 the Energy, Environment and Resources department, with funding mainly derived from the UK Department for International Development, has provided support and assistance for ongoing UK and EU initiatives on the control of illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber.
Illegal Logging Website
We maintain a dedicated website to provide information on the main issues related to illegal logging and trade. The site contains key documents, reports, topical news stories and events, plus links to other relevant websites.
Illegal Logging Stakeholder Update Meetings
These events are held every six months, and have been at the heart of Chatham House's work on the issue since the first event in 2002. They provide updates on the latest initiatives, regulations and research in the area of forest governance and trade in illegal timber. Summaries and presentations from previous meetings are available on the event pages.
Measuring the Response to Illegal Logging: Indicators of Progress
Substantial resources are spent on efforts to combat illegal logging. To ensure the effectiveness of such measures and ensure political support for continued action, it is important to assess whether these efforts are having a useful impact. Chatham House has developed a set of indicators to measure the extent and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging within producer, consumer and processor countries.
The first phase of the project measured progress in five consumer countries, five producer countries and two processor countries. Report. The next phase of the project is set to expand the study to additional countries, and will make the data available via a dedicated website.
Regulation and Governance
We are implementing a number of projects related to regulation and governance of the timber trade. Current projects include:
Implementation of the EU timber regulations
Looking forward: Lessons learnt from Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and building on the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan
Sharing lessons between sectors: improving legality and governance of natural resources
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