AUSTRALIA AND Papua New Guinea have formally agreed to join forces to tackle illegal logging.
After months of detailed negotiations, Australian Minister for Agriculture Tony Burke and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Minister for Forests Belden Namah signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
It is the second formal agreement on illegal logging between the Federal Government and a key regional partner. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Indonesia in November 2008.
Discussions are also continuing with China on the traceability of forest products that have been processed and manufactured in China.
Burke said that to successfully fight illegal logging, it was essential to first identify which timber has been logged legally, through agreements with other nations.
As part of the agreement, Australia and Papua New Guinea indicated they would
• work more closely together on sustainable forest management and the certification of forests
• promote improved trade, investment and sustainable development that includes improvements in verifying the legal origins of timber and timber products
• identify ways to support future growth in the forest industries of both countries
• look at opportunities for closer collaboration on forest research
• consider areas for cooperation through multilateral fora to promote sustainable forest management, certification and combat illegal logging
• identify areas for cooperation on climate change mitigation approaches and adaptation through the improved use of forests.
“I wish the groundwork for this had begun years ago” said Burke.
“Every forestry worker in Australia knows that illegal logging is a direct threat to local jobs, that’s why we’re determined to get this right.”