HC Deb 23 October 2000 vol 355 c6W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she has taken to combat illegal logging; and if she will make a statement in respect of implementation and related procurement practices. [134187]

Mr. Foulkes

Addressing the underlying causes of illegal logging in tropical rain forests is complicated and requires a range of actions, not only in the forest sector. For this reason, through the Department for International Development (DFID), we are working to encourage good government, reduce the burden of debt on developing countries and develop alternative livelihoods for the poor.

Our main efforts are directed at combating illegal logging at source and addressing the other underlying causes of poor forest management, since most illegally harvested timber is consumed domestically. We help countries develop their capacity to assess the nature and extent of illegal logging and to take counter-measures. We help them develop national forest programmes. Early next year, together with the US and World bank, we will sponsor a high-level meeting in South-East Asia to examine what can be done to strengthen enforcement of forestry laws in the region.

In Okinawa the G8 leaders made a commitment to

examine how best we can combat illegal logging, including export and procurement practices.

In response, the Government are committing departments to seek to buy timber and timber products from sustainable and legal sources, for example those identified under independent certification schemes such as that operated by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Government Departments will have to report annually on their progress, and this will be monitored by an inter-departmental group reporting to the committee of Green Ministers.