In the rain forests of Africa and Asia, Illegal logging is still a huge problem, according a report released by Chatham House. Despite some signs of progress, the six new country studies by Chatham House illegal logging is still rampant in the six new countries assessed by Chatham House: the Democratic Republic of Congo; Republic of Congo; Papua New Guinea; India; South Korea; and Thailand. The latest findings are published in four new reports, as part of the 'Indicators of Illegal Logging and Related Trade' project.
This project, which began in 2006, measures the nature and extent of illegal logging and the associated trade in illegally sourced timber, and the effectiveness of the response by both the government and the private sector in a number of producer, processing and consumer countries. There are signs of progress, including legal reform, improved information transparency, and the development of chain of custody systems. Many of these are embryonic, however, and considerable effort is needed to reinforce and build on these initiatives if lasting progress is to be achieved.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo it is estimated that 90% of logging is illegal, this reflecting the poor governance in the country. Negotiations with the European Union for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) are underway, but significant progress is needed in developing a comprehensive regulatory framework, improving transparency, and establishing effective enforcement.
In the Republic of Congo an estimated 70% of logging is illegal. There have been improvements to the regulatory and legislative framework in recent years, but the country continues to face significant problems with law enforcement and corruption.
In Papua New Guinea at least 70% of logging is likely to be illegal. Although the legal framework is relatively strong, it is not being effectively enforced. There is also a severe lack of transparency of information in the sector. Thailand, South Korea and India are among the principal importers of illegally sourced timber and wood products.
It is estimated that 18%, 13% and 17% of imports to Thailand, South Korea and India respectively are of illegal origin. There is growing awareness of the issue in these countries, and Thailand has launched formal negotiations with the European Union for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement.