On 11 November 2014, the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Stakeholder Dialogue, organized by the Australian Department of Environment, concluded in Sydney, Australia. The Dialogue brought technical and policy experts from governments, international organizations, businesses and non-governmental organizations to identify solutions in reducing rainforest loss. Mr Qu Guilin, Executive Director of APFNet, was invited to the Dialogue and speak as one of the panelists under the theme of combating illegal logging.
With accelerated globalization and greater demand for timber in the international market, it has been widely acknowledged that illegal logging and associated trade is a serious issue, damaging the forest ecosystem, economies and communities. Mr Qu pointed out that illegal logging was quite a complex issue in nature involving global forest governance, economy and trade. Despite efforts made by different initiatives and organizations in the region, as Qu suggested, an integrated approach needs to be adopted to address this issue. The current efforts focus mainly on associated trade and stress the supply chain; while illegal logging is, ultimately an issue of forest resource management. If equal focus can be given to forest resource management, with sound forestry legislation and better law enforcement in place, illegal logging may be under better control.
With this in mind and also the principle of creating the added value, Qu introduced, APFNet has carried out various programs to promote sustainable forest management so as to combat illegal logging, such as thematic trainings, on-line courses on forest resources management, high-level policy dialogues and demonstration projects.
The session was chaired by Mr Nico Padovan from Australian Department of Agriculture and the other three panelists are Ms Allison Lewin from TNC, Mr Ida Bagus Wiradnyana Putra from Indonesia’s Alas Kasuma Group and Mr Vincent van den Berk from FLEGT Asia Program. Efforts and experiences in combating illegal logging were shared from different perspectives, e.g. the multi-stakeholder partnerships, the bilateral partnerships and business-community model. At the end of the day, the session discussions were reported by Mr Nico Padovan as an input to the plenary facilitated by Minister Greg Hunt of Environment, together with the outcomes of the other four parallel sessions.
The Asia-Pacific Rainforest Stakeholder Dialogue was initiated and organized by the Australian Ministry of Environment preceding the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit on 12 November 2014.