Countries in the East African region will also partner with the UN Environment Programme, UN Development Programme (UNDP) in this endeavor. They will aim to address a different facet of the illegal trade in timber: from economic drivers, corruption, to law enforcement, customs control, and monitoring.
A key element of the initiative’s strategy is to support countries in addressing the illegal timber trade from source (illegal logging) to export. This will focus on increasing accountability, transparency and developing the technical capacities to deliver effective enforcement and verification.
Lazaro Nyalandu, the Tanzanian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, spoke at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi.
Africa’s forest cover is estimated at 675 million hectares, or 23 per cent of the continent’s total land area continent. Between 2000 and 2010, 3.4 million hectares were lost annually to illegal logging –equivalent to an area 322 times the size of Paris, or 5.1 million football pitches, a statement by the United Nations indicates.
“Safeguarding the world’s forests is not just the most cost-effective way to mitigate climate change: well-managed forests also generate multi-trillion dollar services such as reliable water flow, clean air, sustainable timber products, soil stabilization and nutrient recycling,” s UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner says.
“We cannot afford, economically or environmentally, to allow the continued wholesale destruction of one of our planet’s most valuable resources,” he added. “That is why UNEP applauds the East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ and the firm commitment of the governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to help ensure the responsible management of one of the most important sources of inclusive and sustainable economic growth available to us,” he adds.