Ever since the collapse of the attempt to negotiate a global agreement on forests at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the ‘Earth Summit’) in 1992, there has been, in effect, no rules-based international order relating to forests.
Recent developments, however, hold out the prospect – faint though it may be – of the emergence of an international framework promoting forest governance and law enforcement by regulating trade in timber and agricultural commodities associated with deforestation.
There is no doubt that this is an urgent challenge. Over the last 60 years, the world has lost almost 10 per cent of its remaining forests. … Seguir leyendo »
The rise of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has put the environment and human rights in peril. His promises to open the Amazon for business could result in huge deforestation and the release of vast greenhouse-gas emissions. His threats to slash fundamental environmental and indigenous rights standards that help keep the Amazon standing are a threat to climate stability.
Mr. Bolsonaro, however, wouldn’t be the only one to blame for devastating the Amazon. Companies that accept his invitation to reap profit from Amazon destruction, and the financial institutions that provide the capital, will also bear great responsibility. And those poised to benefit from Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuando el tratado comercial entre Estados Unidos y Perú entró en vigor en 2009, sus defensores lo promocionaron como un ejemplo máximo de buen juicio ambiental. Era la primera vez que el texto principal de un acuerdo comercial incluía salvaguardas detalladas para el medioambiente y los trabajadores. Eso importaba —y todavía importa— no solo como modelo para otros acuerdos comerciales, sino también porque el medioambiente que supuestamente se estaba protegiendo incluía una enorme porción de la selva amazónica.
Como parte del Anexo sobre el Manejo del Sector Forestal del tratado, Estados Unidos proveyó 90 millones de dólares en asistencia técnica para fortalecer la aplicación de las protecciones por parte del servicio forestal peruano y para crear un sistema electrónico que rastreara cada tronco desde su corte hasta su exportación (hasta ahora, ese sistema no parece estar en funcionamiento debido a problemas con el software, según rumores).… Seguir leyendo »
When the trade deal between the United States and Peru went into effect in 2009, proponents touted it as a shining example of environmental good sense. It was the first time the main text of any trade deal included detailed protections for the environment and for labor. That mattered — and still matters — both as a model for other trade deals and also because the environment ostensibly being protected includes a large chunk of the Amazon rain forest.
As part of the deal’s Forest Sector Annex, the United States provided $90 million in technical assistance to beef up enforcement by Peru’s forest service and to create an electronic system intended to track every log from stump to export.… Seguir leyendo »
Up to 58,000 square miles of forests are being lost to deforestation every year, contributing to climate change and the loss of habitats for millions of species. Can you tell us about the key drivers for forest loss across Africa?
Deforestation is directly being caused by activities such as illegal logging, agricultural development, mining and infrastructure projects – but there are reasons behind these activities which are often overlooked.
Poverty is one of the most significant indirect reasons causing deforestation across Africa – and it is increasing. The population across Africa is growing annually, and because we have a large land area with ample forests, Africans are using it to farm as a means of securing their food security while lifting themselves out of poverty.… Seguir leyendo »
Strange as it may sound, we have arrived at a moment of hope for the world’s forests. It is, admittedly, hope of a jaded variety: After decades of hand-wringing about rampant destruction of forests almost everywhere, investigators have recently demonstrated in extraordinary detail that much of this logging is blatantly illegal.
And surprisingly, people actually seem to be doing something about it. In November, the European Court of Justice put Poland under threat of a 100,000-euro-per-day fine for illegal logging in the continent’s oldest forest, and early this month Poland’s prime minister fired the environment minister who authorized the logging.
In Romania, two big do-it-yourself retail chains ended purchasing agreements with an Austrian logging giant implicated in illegal logging there.… Seguir leyendo »
Illegal logging and the associated trade is a major cause of deforestation and forest degradation and accounts for a large proportion of forest sector activities around the world. Trade in illegal timber can be highly lucrative and involves the buying and selling of timber which may have been harvested, transported or processed illicitly.
This year, Vietnam became the seventh country to conclude negotiations with the European Union for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The agreement aims to tackle illegal logging, improve forest governance and promote trade in verified and licensed legal timber products from Vietnam to European and international markets. Earlier in 2017, Indonesia – one of the world’s largest timber exporters – became the first country to officially issue licensed timber under the agreement.… Seguir leyendo »
Small- and medium-sized forestry enterprises (SMFEs) make up a large proportion of the forest sector, accounting for over half the timber production and supporting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods in developing countries − over 50 per cent of the forest sector workforce. But they often operate outside the realms of the law – making them difficult to monitor and control, and providing a window for corruption and poor management practices. Consequently, SMFEs are often seen as a problem to eliminate rather than an opportunity for sustainable development. However, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an opportunity to change perceptions while also bringing more attention and resources to the small-scale sector.… Seguir leyendo »
I have loved wood and the smell of sawdust ever since I was a child and got to wander among the open sheds at the local l
umberyard. But for years now I have had a sick feeling every time I shop for almost anything made of wood. The prices are often unbelievably good, but then I notice the words “Made in Vietnam,” or some other country where illegal logging is demolishing forests at appalling speed, largely for the United States and European markets.
So I was pleased when I read this month that a federal judge had approved a criminal settlement in just such a logging case.… Seguir leyendo »
Never before has the survival of so much rainforest depended on one person. But that is where President Rousseff of Brazil finds herself. The Brazilian congress just passed a forest code that puts the Amazon and other forests in jeopardy.
Dilma Rousseff’s imminent decision on whether to pass or veto the bill will have huge ramifications. If approved, it would give loggers and farmers free rein to chop down 190m acres of forest. A territory the size of France and Britain combined will be at risk. It would open forests and rivers up for grabs, putting 70% of Brazil’s river basins at risk.… Seguir leyendo »