Government and industry pact aims to ban illegal timber in Amazon state of Pará
International — Belém, Pará State, Brazilian Amazon. 18 July 2008 – Greenpeace welcomes today’s announcement of a pact between the Amazon State of Pará, the world’s largest producer of Amazon timber, the Brazilian environment ministry and representatives of the logging industry of a pact aiming to ban trade in illegal timber and timber from deforestation.
Industry signatories to the agreement include the influential Association of Timber Exports Industries and the Pará Federation of Industries.
Building on the fruitful cooperation between civil society and industry that produced the July 2006 Brazilian soya moratorium, in which major traders agreed to stop trading in soya grown on newly deforested land, the “Pact for Legal and Sustainable Timber” recognises the importance of voluntary agreements that combine economic production with environmental protection.
“In a country where intention and action don’t always meet, the implementation of this agreement by industry and Government will be vital for establishing effective protection for the forests while preserving jobs. It will benefit local communities and promote legal and sustainable logging activities ”, said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Director.
The agreement is a major step towards creating the governance system necessary for reducing deforestation and forest degradation by the Amazon logging sector. Furthermore, the pact meets several long-time Greenpeace demands calling for law enforcement, combined with positive incentives for local communities and to that part of the industry committed to
environmental sustainability. Pará is the source of 45% of Brazilian Amazon’s sawed timber and is notorious for its high rates of illegal timber activity.
It is expected that the pact will strengthen international measures to halt illegal logging, including the recent US decision to ban illegal wood imports (including a wide range of forest products) as part of the Lacey Act. It is also hoped that it might influence current discussions by the European Commission regarding legislation to ban illegal timber from the European market.
Some 63% to 80% of the timber produced in the Amazon is illegal. Not only does illegal and intense timber exploitation destroy the livelihoods of local peoples, but it is a major contributor to climate change. Recent science has shown that destruction of tropical forests is responsible for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil is currently the fourth largest emitter of Greenhouse gases worldwide, primarily due to the Amazon deforestation.
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