Indonesia: Indonesia,Japan launch program against haze, illegal logging
30 August 2002
JOHANNESBURG, August 30(AFX) – Indonesia joined forces with Japan, its top export market for timber, tolaunch a regional forestry program to help battle forest fires and haze, andrampant illegal logging in its vast archipelago.
The Asia ForestryPartnership, involving 12 countries and eight global organisations, will boostIndonesia’s forest law enforcement and resources to protest its dwindlingforests, forestry planning agency director general Boen Purnama said.
The country lost some 2million hectares of forest annually between 1990 and 2000, he said on thesidelines of the UN Earth Summit.
“The partnership willstrengthen our capacity to battle forest fires and illegal logging, and this iscritical in a time of economic weakness where many sectors are thinking only ofshort-term gains,” he told Agence France-Presse.
Japan’s ambassador forglobal environment and international economic affairs Kazuo Asakai said thepartnership was a collective action to curb forest degradation in Asia which wascontinuing at an “alarming rate.”
Some 12.3 mln hectares oftropical forests have disappeared between 1990 and 2000, officials said.
The forestry partnership,involving Australia, Britain, Cambodia, France, South Korea, Singapore,Switzerland, Thailand, the US and the European Union, will develop regionalactions to prevent fire and rehabilitate degraded lands, Asakai said.
Among other actions, theywill cooperate on satellite data and mapping for forest management, research andinformation exchange to control forest fires and haze, and develop a trackingand verification mechanism to stamp out trade of illegally harvested timber, hesaid.
Source: InternationalHerald Tribune, 30 August 2002