The European Union (EU) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have agreed to step up joint efforts to support tropical timber producing countries in curbing illegal logging, improving forest governance and promoting the trade of legally sourced timber.
According to African Press Organization, a $30 million funding agreement was formalized by Veronique Lorenzo of the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, and Rene Castro Salazar, FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry, to support the next phase of FAO’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, set to run through 2020.
That sum includes approximately $18 million from the EU, $7.25 million from the United Kingdom and $5.3 million from the Government of Sweden.
Previously, an environmental protection group has accused China of being the main player in the illegal logging in the Congo Basin.
According to a report by Greenpeace, every year approximately 3 million cubic meters of timber leave the Congo Basin to China’s cities with considerable amounts resulting from illegal logging.
Illegal logging and associated trade costs governments an estimated $10-15 billion per year in lost tax revenues. It also undermines people’s livelihoods and robs them of income and food.