Important steps to stop illegal logging in West and Central Africa
Tropical rainforest, Gabon.
Yaounde, Cameroon – WWF today announced the formation of a Producers Group for West and Central Africa composed of logging companies committed to halting illegal logging in the region.
The Producers Group will be composed initially of committed companies from the two sub-regions that agree to work with WWF and other partners to achieve environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable forestry practices in their logging concessions and mills.
“Members of WWF’s Producers Group will be leaders in helping turn the rising tide of illegal logging, forest fires, species loss, and harm to local livelihoods,” said Laurent Some, Regional Representative of WWF's Central African Programme.
The forests of West and Central Africa, including the rich but threatened forests of the Congo Basin, fall prey at an increasing rate each year to a range of regulatory and economic forces.
Inadequate legal frameworks encourage uncontrolled and poorly planned logging. New roads built by loggers operating illegally or without sufficient regulation in the region provide access to sensitive forest areas leading to increases in forest fires and species loss due to bushmeat hunting.
Today’s announcement occurs against the backdrop of a meeting of the Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG), a high-level multi-country coordinating group of government ministers focusing on ways to improve forest governance, monitoring, and law enforcement.
WWF calls on the ministers meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, to adopt measures aimed at improving the practices of government, the private sector, and civil society with respect to the forest sector.
The AFLEG is critical to creating the conditions for the new Producer Group to be successful by putting in place effective policies and legislation and ensuring that these are enforced.
Only through good governance at the national level and better monitoring and law enforcement in the forests will the efforts of good actors in the private sector be possible.
In recognition of the important role that global markets for forest products play in the health of valuable forests, WWF formed the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) which links producers and buyers of forest products committed to achieving increasingly responsible and certified forestry practices.
WWF has also played a role in promoting transboundary forest protection efforts in the Congo Basin and supported the AFLEG process in cooperation with partners including COMIFAC.
“The forests of West and Central Africa are of global economic and environmental importance and they are the cornerstone for economic development and healthy livelihoods in the region,” said Laurent Some. “Through initiatives like our Global Forest & Trade Network and the Africa Forest Law Enforcement Governance, WWF is working with partners from diverse sectors including environmental groups, business, development aid banks, and government to create realistic solutions to real forest threats.”
WWF Central African Regional Programme Office
Tel.: +237 221 62 67