Global Witness says Vietnam’s recently-signed Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union can and must prevent the country from ‘becoming a new global timber laundering hub.’ Instead, the Agreement can ensure that Vietnam plays ‘a crucial role’ in protecting the world’s threatened rainforests.
Our new investigation conclusively shows that tropical timber across the Solomon Islands is being harvested on an unsustainable scale, and that much of the activity driving this environmental destruction is at high risk of being illegal. If the growing degradation of the Solomon Islands’ tropical forests carries on unchecked, it will have a disastrous and irreparable impact on the country’s environment. The loss of this carbon sink would also have a significant impact on climate change.
A new report reveals that many forest operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) violate the law, despite holding Government permits. PNG is China’s single largest supplier. By buying timber from PNG and exporting to markets that ban illegal timber imports, such as the European Union or the United States, China therefore risks damaging its reputation and major trade relationships.
In 2012, when I first started researching China’s illegal timber imports, related news or information in Chinese was scarce. Six years on, however, a study co-authored by a Chinese government research institution offers a flicker of hope. China may be heading in the right direction and joining a growing global community who prohibit illegal timber imports by law.
Twenty-two years ago Global Witness cut its teeth exposing the trade in conflict timber in war-torn Cambodia. Posing as European timber buyers, my colleagues and I exposed how the genocidal Khmer Rouge was selling wood to logging companies just across the border in Thailand.