Forest Legislations 1
Over a dozen African countries to tackle Climate change and boost development by restoring 100m hectares of forest across the continent over the next 15 years. The initiative known as the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) was launched during COP21. It will be underpinned by a $1bn investment from the World Bank in 14 African countries over the next 15 years and by $600m of private sector investment over the same period.
The initiative will also be supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the World Resources Institute.
Auditors say EU scheme to tackle $100bn global trade in illegal timber is poorly designed, badly managed and largely ineffective. Four EU countries – Greece, Spain, Hungary and Romania – have still not implemented an EU timber regulation proposed five years ago, allowing an easy passage to market for the fruits of deforestation. While on the supply side, part of the problem rests with a poor prioritisation of aid, the auditors say. Liberia received €11.9m to tackle illegal logging, when its yearly wood exports to the EU only averaged €5m.
Liberia is to become the first African nation to stop cutting down trees in return for development aid. Liberia is the home to a significant part of West Africa’s remaining forest, with about 43% of the Upper Guinean forest, and it is also a global diversity hotspot, home to the last remaining viable populations of species. Illegal logging in Liberia stared from 2003 after the civil war ended, and some researchers have connected the outbreak of Ebola with the widespread deforestation, which brings people into contact with natural reservoir of the virus. Now Norway has reached agreement with Liberia government that Norway will help Liberia to build up the capacity to monitor and police the forests. With widespread corruption and a government struggling to impost its authority, it should be recognized that stopping all the logging in Liberia will not be easy.
West Africa's biggest rainforest has won a reprieve from destruction with Liberia's government cancelling dozens of illegal logging permits, saving up to 10,000 square miles from being cleared. Earlier in the year the government had granted licences allowing companies to cut down 58 per cent of all the primary rainforest left in the country. The licences were handed out in breach of Liberia’s own law, generally to companies backed by Malaysian and Chinese investors. The case was first highlighted by Global Witness.
Central African Republic and Liberia become the fifth and sixth countries to sign Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with the EU. Under the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), VPAs commit partner countries to establish systems and a licencing scheme to ensure only verified legal timber products (including pulp and paper) are exported from that country from 3rd March 2013 (globally; not just to EU member states). VPAs with Ghana and Cameroon are close to being signed and VPAs with four more countries are currently being negotiated.