Illegal logging is estimated to cost the world more than US$10 billion annually – more than six times the total amount of development assistance directed towards sustainable forest management.
Illegal logging is both a symptom and a result of weak forest governance, and is a significant problem for timber producing countries as well as consumer countries. In addition to environmental damage, illegal logging and other forest crime, predatory practices result in significant revenue losses for governments, companies and communities.
IUCN sees the real issue in addressing illegal logging and trade as being one of effectiveness - in terms of better governance leading to sustainable forest management. Given that our underlying conviction is that the management and conservation of a country’s forest resources is a matter of informed societal choice in a particular country or district, our ultimate aim is to ensure that the outcomes of forest governance reform processes enjoy considerable support from the different local stakeholder groups and that these groups are seen, and see themselves, as partners in the implementation of ongoing and subsequent forest governance actions. This is a prerequisite to the successful implementation of specific agreed reforms and actions. IUCN China is partnering with Chatham House and Forest Trends to present a series of Illegal Logging Dialogues. The second meeting in the series, “China and the Global Forest Products Trade: Trade of Legal and Sustainable Wood in China,” was held November 1-2, 2007 in Beijing, and attracted about 60 participants from government, the private sector, NGOs and research institutes.
The third Chatham House Dialogue is scheduled for April 2008 and will focus even more on how the private sector can address illegal logging and associated trade, and importantly, can promote sustainable forest management in China and overseas. The Chatham House Dialogues are based on consultation, so please contact IUCN China with any suggestions or comments for the next meeting – your ideas are welcome!