G8 weak on illegal logging, say campaigners
The G8 countries have made moves to protect Africa from illegal logging and climate change, but grassroots organisation Greenpeace claims that Ministers are still not doing enough.
Following the G8 environment and development meeting in Derbyshire this week, Ministers agreed to tackle both the supply and demand of illegally logged timber by:
"Illegal logging is a problem shared by those producing and exporting timber and timber products and those that import them," UK secretary of state for international development Hilary Benn stated. "Tackling illegal logging will enable the poorest countries to manage their forests better, reduce poverty and protect natural resources."
"It does not make sense to give development assistance on the one hand while importing cheap illegal timber on the other."
However, Greenpeace has claimed that the G8 Ministers have failed to commit to adopting legislation to prohibit the import of illegal timber and wood products into their countries, despite a very strong call by NGOs, industry and research institutions.
Spokesperson for Greenpeace International Nathalie Rey said that the proposals only outlaw illegal wood, ignoring the huge impact that legalised but unsustainable logging has on the world's forests and the millions of people that rely on them for their livelihood.
"The G8 is once again proving its value as a talking shop rather than a forum for taking urgently needed action," she warned. "The world's ancient forests cannot rely on half-hearted voluntary measures, and the G8 is failing to deliver."
"While we welcome their recognition of the problem and the re-commitment to existing political agreements, this is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound."
By Jane Kettle