EU signs a deal with Liberia and Indonesia to end trade of illegal timber

Almost 45 percent of Liberia—about 4.3 million hectares—is covered by tropical forest. With over half the entire rainforest remaining in West Africa, Liberia is home to rare and endangered wildlife, and represents one of only 34 biodiversity hotspots worldwide. VPA was signed to ensure that all Liberian timber products exported from Liberia to the EU are derived from legal sources and that the resulting trade will benefit the Liberian people. Illegal logging had been rampant during the country’s prolonged civil war in the 1990s. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement will be signed only five years after the lifting of UN sanctions, imposed on imports of timber from Liberia by the UN in 2003.

In less than 50 years, Indonesia has gone from being 82% forest to only 49% today, a trend that has led to social problems, environmental degradation and a loss of economic opportunities on a massive scale, according to studies of the impact of deforestation on the nation of 245 million people. In 2007, a UN report estimated that 73 to 88 percent of timber logged in Indonesia was illegally sourced. Between 1990 and 2005, Indonesia lost 28 million hectares of forest, almost enough to cover the landmass of the Philippines. VPA with Indonesia, the world’s third-largest tropical forest nation, is the most ambitious yet of the EU’s bi-lateral pacts aimed at slowing the destruction of tropical forests.

Read full press release about Liberia VPA here.

Read full press release about Indonesia VPA here.

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