HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc142-3W
Mr. Peter Ainsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent measures she has taken to promote an international code to combat illegal timber logging. [8286]

Margaret Beckett

[holding answer 18 October 2001 ]: The Government are currently investigating options for intergovernmental agreements to combat illegal logging. My Department works closely with the Department for International Development (DfID) on this. A study by the Royal Institute of International Affairs has been commissioned and final results will be available before the end of the year. The study considers possible options to combat illegal logging and in particular frameworks for voluntary and mandatory agreements and the relationship of such agreements with WTO rules, market based instruments such as labelling and certification, particularly where they include requirements for chain-of-custody documentation.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for International Development represented the Government at the recent Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, East Asia, Ministerial Conference (Indonesia, 11–13 September 2001). The conference was successful. Participants agreed to intensify national efforts and strengthen bilateral, regional and multilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime and to create a regional task force on forest law enforcement and governance. The UK will play its part in taking forward these actions on forest governance, working with overseas partners both bilaterally and internationally through the United Nation Forum on Forests and the G-8 processes.