The Federal Government of Germany and the German Bundestag must ban the import of illegal timber now!

13 October 2003

Appeal for measures against illegal timber trade

Logs_Feri_IrawanIllegal logging and timber trade are – as well as legal overexploitation – one of the main reasons for the destruction of forests, especially primary forests. According to World Bank estimates, the timber exporting countries are losing about EUR 10 – 15 billion in taxes by these illegal dealings. Illegal logging destroys enormous forest areas, threatens biodiversity and ruins the basis of life of the local population. Forest and timber industries are at the origin of, and are the propulsive force of corruption, of massive disregard of human rights and of repression.

Estimates are that about half of the tropical timber imported into the EU has been cut and traded illegally. In Indonesia, for instance, according to official estimates over 70% of the timber stems from illegal sources, and in Brasil, over 60%. The same is true for a quarter of timber imports from northwest Russia. The EU as the world’s largest timber importer receives illegal timber to the amount of EUR 1.2 billion per year! Germany, as a large timber importer, has its share of responsibility in this deplorable state of affairs.

Last year, immediate measures against the trade of illegally cut timber have been agreed on in the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which constitutes international law, in a working plan on the biological diversity of forests. This is why the European Commission, in May 2003, has presented a plan of action called FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) to their member countries, by which to combat illegal  logging and trade.

The Federal Government has agreed on protecting the last primary forests. However, the  existing action plan proposed by the EU neither ensures a protection of these last primary forests, nor does it ensure a sustainable use of commercial forests. Therefore, the undersigned ask the Federal Government to:

1. ban the importation of and the trade with illegally logged timber in Germany, as well as on EU level, by law and make them a criminal offence,

2. support the creation of a licensing system to label legal timber which is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable, using proven means of control,

3. amend the laws on money laundering by making illegal timber trade an offence,

4. direct the proposed measures of the EU action plan on strategically protecting forests with a large biodiversity, especially the last primary forests,

5. agree on binding environmental and social standards, especially for the protection of primary forests and the rights of indigenous and local communities, for its export credit agency Hermes AG, and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, and to ensure these standards are met,

6. draw up binding rules for public procurement which state that buying illegal timber is excluded and that timber will be bought only from forests managed according to the criteria of ecological, social and economical sustainability, and to include methods of manufacture and labels as criteria for tenders in the new EU procurement guidelines,

7. ensure the full participation of the society (including local and indigenous groups) as a basic prerequisite for bilateral partnership agreements with developing countries.

Signed by:

AG Wald im Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung
Allwetterzoo Münster
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz
Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe
Brasilieninitiative Freiburg
Bundeskoordination Stud. Oekologiearbeit BSOe e.V
Dachverband der kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre
Eine Welt Forum Mönchengladbach
Faszination Regenwald e.V.
Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung
Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere
Indio -Hilfe
Kooperation Brasilien – KoBra e.V.
Naturschutzjugend im Landesbund für Vogelschutz
Patuca e.V.
Rettet den Regenwald
Robin Wood
Stiftung Artenschutz
Stiftung eine Welt – Eine Zukunft
Tropica Verde
Vamos e.V.
Watch Indonesia!
Westfälische Gesellschaft für Artenschutz
WWF Deutschland
Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz

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