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President Bush's Initiative Against Illegal Logging

"... I've also ordered the Secretary of State to develop a new initiative to help developing countries stop illegal logging, a practice that destroys biodiversity and releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."
-President George W. Bush, Global Climate Change remarks, February 14, 2002.

What is Illegal Logging?

Illegal logging is generally understood to mean timber that is harvested, transported, processed or sold in contravention of a country's laws. Illegal logging destroys forest ecosystems, robs national governments and local communities of needed revenues, undercuts prices of legally harvested forest products on the world market, finances regional conflict and acts as a disincentive to sustainable forest management.

International trade in illegally harvested timber and timber traded in violation of Parties' obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) exacerbates the problem. Illegal logging is also a primary factor in the escalating African bush meat crisis, opening up vast areas to illicit hunting to feed loggers and for commercial sale in urban centers.

Underlying causes of illegal logging and related corruption are rooted in a lack of strong institutions based on democratic principles: rule of law, participatory and transparent decision-making, public accountability, clear land tenure and property rights and due process for dispute settlement.

The World Bank estimates that illegal logging results in annual losses in developing countries of $10-15 billion worldwide.
-A Revised Forest Strategy for the World Bank Group, October 2002

U.S. Leadership

The United States has been a leader in raising international awareness of the devastating global problem of illegal logging and identifying actions to address it, notably through the G-8, regional initiatives such as the South Asia and Africa Ministerial Conferences on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, and bilateral development assistance activities. Developed at the direction of President Bush, this Initiative builds on those efforts.

>>More about the President's initiative

July 29, 2003
President's Initiative to Stop Illegal Logging Discussed on Ask the White House
July 28, 2003
President Bush Discusses New Initiative to Stop Illegal Logging
February 14, 2002
President Announces Clear Skies & Global Climate Change Initiatives
  President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging Brochure (4.2mb)
  The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) goal is to promote economic development, alleviate poverty, combat illegal logging, enforce anti-poaching laws, improve local governance, and conserve natural resources through support for a network of national parks and protected areas, well-managed forestry concessions, and creation of economic opportunities for communities who depend upon the conservation of the forest and wildlife resources of the Congo Basin. U.S. partnership actions focus on eleven key Congo Basin forest landscapes in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Republic of the Congo, which are ecologically sensitive, biologically diverse areas and wildlife corridors considered the most vulnerable to deforestation and other threats. The U.S. Government will invest up to $53 million in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership through 2005.

CBFP Partners are: Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and European Commission; The Smithsonian Institution, The World Bank, International Tropical Timber Organization, and World Conservation Union; American Forest & Paper Association, Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux-ATIBT, Center for International Forestry Research, Conservation International, Forest Trends, Jane Goodall Institute, Society of American Foresters, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund.

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