As president of the G8, Japan puts focus on sustainable forest management and timber certification.
As it assumes the chair of the G8, Japan will make sustainable forest management a top priority, said a top Japanese government official.
"While promoting 'sustainable forest management', we need to try to halt deforestation and forest degradation," said Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda speaking last month at a Climate Change Forum in Brasilia, Brazil. "I intend to promote a discussion on forest-related issues with the countries concerned in order to make important progress towards their resolution."
Fukuda said Japan would reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions while working to help developing countries address environmental issues through a $10 billion initiative called the "Cool Earth Promotion Program."
In line with Fukuda's remarks, the forum produced a proposal on reducing illegal logging. The scheme calls for a global certification and tracking system for timber as well as financial assistance for countries to develop and implement "credible, certified sustainable forest management."
The text of the proposal appears below.
G8 Illegal Logging Dialogue Policy Proposal to Japanese G8 Summit
Submission from the GLOBE Brasilia G8+5 Legislators Forum
1. Legislative Measures:
1.1 Introduction of a Global System for Recognizing Source Countries Licensing Schemes
We propose that there should be a global system for recognizing and enforcing the license schemes for legal timber, encompassing all major timber source and consumer countries. To achieve this, we believe that the following steps are necessary: The development of a system that recognizes and respects the laws of each producer country.
Each source country to define clearly the scope of rights and obligations such as ownership, customary usage, authorized forest management, permitted species, export and customs regulations and taxation.
A system of verification to establish that the laws of the relevant source country have been complied with.
We consider that G8 countries should take the lead in establishing the legality of their own timber exports.
1.2 Introduction of Domestic Legislation within G8
We propose that consumer countries should reinforce the legislation passed by producer countries. We believe that excluding illegal timber products from consumer markets has a critical role to play as one of a range of measures directed against illegal logging. We therefore propose: G8 countries should examine the introduction of simple and specific domestic legislation making the import of timber produced illegally according to the laws of foreign source countries an offence in the consumer country.
2. Markets for Legal and Sustainable Timber
We believe that building protected markets for legal and sustainable timber products has an important part to play as one of a range of measures directed against illegal logging. We believe that this would have the effect of raising the market price for legal and sustainable timber. We propose the following market-orientated steps:
G8 and other countries to use their public procurement policies to require legal and sustainable timber for all government contracts, and undertake moves towards harmonization of technical specifications and their implementation and enforcement.
G8 and other countries to use government building standards as a way of promoting the use of legal and sustainable building materials. Most existing systems should incorporate tougher requirements for legal and sustainable timber.
G8 and other countries to encourage industry associations in consumer and producer states to give guidance to their members about the implementation of procurement policies that require evidence-based supply of legal and sustainable wood product that is congruent with public policy processes.
G8 and other countries to call upon companies and industry associations in consumer and producer states to work together to develop supply chain systems that eliminate illegal products.
G8 and other countries to develop common standards of legality verification G8 and other countries to have primary responsibility to assess which existing certification and legality verification systems satisfy their government's criteria for legality and sustainability.
3. Governance ' Forest Sector Transparency
We recommend that the G8 support the introduction of a global Forest Transparency Initiative (FTI). This should be developed with International Finance Institutions and pilot tested at a country level in Asia and Central and West Africa. This should be designed to establish parliamentary oversight through committees in producer and consumer countries and make available robust and relevant financial information that can improve accountability and governance of national forest resources.
We believe that for the FTI to succeed that there should be a requirement for public and private bodies to participate in/comply with the requirements of an FTI.
Finance for sustainable forest management
We believe that the costs of achieving credible, independently verified standards of sustainable forest management are relatively very high. Illegal logging depresses market values of timber product, weakening the competitiveness of sustainable timber product in a largely undiscerning market. There are significant inherent risks to investing in tropical developing countries. It is clear, therefore, that there are significant barriers to the flow of investment capital into tropical forestry sector projects. We therefore propose the following steps are taken to stimulate allocation of investment capital to the tropical forestry sector and assist in the transition of progressive timber companies to forest management companies: That the G8 should direct official development assistance to producer countries to support: Capacity building
appropriate forest management enterprises to implement credible, certified sustainable forest management activities.
development of sustainable value-adding' timber processing capacity within the producer country rather than simply exporting raw timber.
the transition of existing sustainable forest management operations from principally timber producers to multiple-revenue (goods- and services-based) forest management operations.
That the G8 should create mechanisms through International Finance Institutions and other institutions such as the Global Environment Facility to encourage realistic private capital investment in sustainable tropical forestry projects, including carbon financing and financing to secure other ecosystem services.
That the G8 should commit to develop options for financing sustainable forest management based on payments for ecosystem services (including analysis of viable eco-securitization and risk mitigation instrument options) and consideration of a portfolio approach to forest management.
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