It has been 10 years since the G8 first identified illegal logging as an issue of concern. Since then, international momentum on illegal logging and trade has shifted from the G8 to sub-regional and regional Forest Law Enforcement and Governance ministerial conference processes and to national and bilateral level action at both the producer and consumer country level.
Positive steps have been taken in many consumer countries to eliminate illegal timber from their supply chains and a growing number of producer countries are committing to voluntary partnership agreements with the European Union to stop imports of illegally logged timber into the European Union.
In addition, local civil society in many producing countries plays a critical role by working with government and industry to shape home-grown solutions to combat illegal logging. It is within this encouraging framework that the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has, over the past few years, focused its contribution to combating illegal logging at the national level in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The establishment of “tripartite” multi-stakeholder platforms to facilitate solution-orientated dialogue is perhaps the best known element of IUCN’s efforts to curb illegal logging, as it really works. For example, on 30 May, 2007, the Brazilian Senate voted and ratified a bill amending the National Procurement Act. For the first time, an article was included requiring proof of the legality of wood sources used in public construction and infrastructure projects.
This successful result followed initiatives promoted jointly by IUCN, Greenpeace and WWF, in collaboration with Senators Sibá Machado and Tião Vianna from the state of Acre, Brazil, building on successful collaboration between these organizations, small forest owners, timber trading companies and different levels of governments to provide people in the state of Acre with economic opportunities from the marketing and trading of their forest products certified as coming from legal sources.
The G8 has an important role to play in supporting these nationally-based forest sector reform processes and it is for this reason that IUCN is encouraging the Heiligendamm meeting to consider initiating a review of national and international action to combat illegal logging and to report back with the recommended actions at the G8 2008 summit in Hokkaido, Japan.