Environment Programme


The period June to September saw the culmination of over two years of work by VERTIC’s Environment Programme and Chatham House on their illegal logging indicators project. During this period, Chatham House and VERTIC developed and tested a set of indicators to monitor the response to illegal logging across the government and private sectors in selected producer, processing and consumer countries around the world. The overarching indicator areas were government policy studies (including policy assessments, enforcement and revenue data), private sector progress (including trends in certification and verification schemes, price response, diversion of trade to less sensitive markets), and levels of illegal logging (including wood balance modeling, import source analysis, trade data discrepancies). Media attention to the issue was also examined and a multi-country expert perceptions survey conducted.

The project used the indicators to track the response to the problem as it developed from its early stages into more concrete government and private sector action, before finally estimating the resulting levels of illegal logging. Conclusions were drawn on the type and adequacy of the policy response, levels of illegal logging and how they relate to one another. Estimates were also made, where illegal logging has been reduced, of savings in terms of timber, hectares, carbon, and revenue. In addition, the report set out a wide range of policy lessons for countries to learn from. Countries studied were Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, France, Japan, Netherlands, UK and the US.

Chatham House and VERTIC also carried out research, analysis and contracted partner organisations in several of the focus countries to gather data there.

The main product of the project was a 132-page report written by Sam Lawson, Associate Fellow, Chatham House and VERTIC’s Senior Researcher Larry MacFaul. A briefing paper and country report cards were also produced. The level of political and media attention to the project was high. The report was launched at the Royal Society on 15 July, and the event included presentations by the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DFID, the Ambassador of Indonesia, the Secretary General of the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement, and the EU Development Commissioner. There was widespread international media coverage, including features across an extensive range of the major outlets. Larry MacFaul was also interviewed by a number of newspapers and by the BBC World Service-Focus Africa.

During this period, VERTIC’s environment programme also finalized a report on climate change and forests with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The paper, published in July, examines what kind of data countries need to gather to develop and implement REDD strategies effectively, and what information could be made available at the international level. It focuses on measures to address illegal logging in Indonesia and Peru, and draws on work carried out for the Chatham House-VERTIC illegal logging project, among others.

WRI working papers are circulated ‘to stimulate timely discussion and critical feedback and to influence ongoing debate on emerging issues.’ The analysis and recommendations in this paper are particularly aimed at making recommendations for domestic policy makers in forest-rich developing countries and for parties to the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations, where it has already received interest. Larry MacFaul co-authored the paper along with Florence Daviet (WRI), Lauren Goers (WRI), Andrea Johnson (EIA) and Kirsten Stasio (WRI).

Larry also attended a meeting on financing climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The meeting was hosted by FIELD—the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development—in London, on 20 September, and included presentations from several experts and commentators including Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development; Andrew Dlugolecki, Independent Adviser to UNEP Finance Initiative; Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh; and Alex MacGillivray, Director, AccountAbility.

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