Sumario: August 31, 2002: European Commission stresses commitment to combat illegal logging (Brussels)
At a side event held today at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the European Commission underlined its commitment to combating illegal logging and trade in illicitly produced timber.
Illegal logging and the international trade in illegal timber are prominent among factors driving the rapid rate of forest loss. Illegal logging also deprives governments of vital revenues to spend on poverty reduction programmes.
Every year more than 12 million hectares of natural forest are lost, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This rate of destruction adversely affects many of the world's poorest people, who depend on forest resources for a living.
Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, called on wood-consuming countries to recognize the vital role they must play in closing down the international trade in illegal timber.
Commissioner Nielson said: "The European Commission is committed to combating illegal logging, by helping to improve law enforcement and governance in wood-producing countries, and by working to stop the trade in illegally procured wood and wood products."
Margot Wallström, European Commissioner for Environment, said: "We need to agree in Johannesburg on clear and ambitious targets to halt and reverse the current loss of natural resources and biological diversity. The European Union is strongly committed to playing its part, including through implementing internationally agreed actions."
The European Commission is currently preparing an Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, which aims to combat illegal logging and related trade.
Measures under discussion include instruments to verify the legality of wood products and to address illegal wood product imports into the EU market; co-operation and exchange of data between customs authorities; promotion of EU consumption of legally produced products; improving due diligence, transparency and standards for finance and export credit institutions; and support to timber-producing countries to combat illegal logging and help meet these new requirements.