NGO statement on illegal wildlife trade
In my contribution I focus on illegal harvesting and trade of timber, estimated to have an economic value of up to 100 billion US dollars a year. Illegal harvesting of timber is contributing to deforestation and forest degradation, it has serious negative social impacts, undermines the economies of the countries of harvest, and it is seriously undermining efforts to promote sustainable forest management. Part of illegal logging is purely domestic, driven by poverty and lack of alternatives. Then enforcement needs to be complemented with creating sustainable livelihoods, building upon the important role local communities can have as primary stewards of forests, and for example the promotion of agro-forestry. However, a large component is without doubt criminal and needs to be eradicated. It is also truly a global phenomenon, with all countries involved on the demand side. And tackling the demand side is essential. Raising consumer awareness is important, and governments at all levels have a role to play here, but illegal timber gets converted in ordinary products such as charcoal, paper, furniture, wall panels,construction wood, products that cannot be easily identified with crime.