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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Liberian campaigner calls for EU action on logging law dodgers

EXCLUSIVE / An award-winning Liberian environmental campaigner has called on the EU to act against at least 16 member states which have still not implemented a timber regulation to combat illegal logging, a year after it came into force.
New research from the environmental group Client Earth shows that eight EU countries have done nothing to transpose the law, while ten have only produced draft legislation. A clear majority of countries have no penalties in place to deal with illegally-logged timber entering the bloc.
Speaking from Nairobi, where he is working on new IT technologies to map illegal logging, Silas Kpanan’ Ayoung Siakor of the Sustainable Development Institute told EurActiv that the issue should be treated as “a matter of urgency.”
“The EU needs to demonstrate that it is serious about addressing the problem and taking action against member states that do not fulfill their legal obligations is important,” he said. “It will show that they are not only trying to ensure that non-state actors follow the regulations, but that they will make sure that their own member states actually comply.”
Siakor won the prestigious Goldman environmental prize in 2006 for his high-risk work exposing the then-president Charles Taylor’s use of profits from widespread illegal logging to fund a merciless 14-year-war. His work led the UN Security Council to ban the import of Liberian timber. Taylor is now serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes.
Flouting of the timber law would send “a very bad message” to African governments, Siakor said. “It would undermine the EU’s public message that it is trying to curb illegal logging and it would increase deforestation. Politicians would turn to people like ourselves and say: ‘Look! Even the EU does not see the need to take action on illegal logging’.”
“It would also show a lack of commitment to helping Africa and the Global South to address this problem,” he added.

Source: EurActiv.com

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