Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Africa’s logging permit crisis puts EU at risk of laundering illegal timber imports

Global Witness: Systematic abuse of small, poorly regulated logging permits in Africa by companies, forest officials and politicians is undermining efforts to fight deforestation and keep illegal timber out of the EU, says a new report by Global Witness.

The new report, Logging in the shadows, identifies a largely hidden pattern of abuse across Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Liberia, in which permits designed to promote small businesses and meet local needs are being allocated in their hundreds to industrial logging companies. These “shadow permits” open the door to highly lucrative, large-scale logging operations which bypass oversight by the authorities.

"This is a very worrying trend – logging companies are systematically colluding with corrupt officials to get around laws designed to stop them decimating forests and abusing those that live in them. This is massively undermining international efforts to regulate the international timber trade, notably the EU’s Voluntary Partnership Agreements and Timber Regulation,” said Alexandra Pardal, Europe Campaigner at Global Witness.

12.4 billion Euros worth of timber considered to pose a high risk of illegality entered the EU in 2011... In March 2013 the EU Timber Regulation prohibited the import of illegal timber, but in the past two months Global Witness and Greenpeace have uncovered suspicious log shipments in EU ports from two of the countries featured in Logging in the shadows...

A logging truck in Cameroon, in a collision with a bush taxi, shot by Amcaja, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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