Kenya hosts timber trade forum
Nairobi, Kenya, 27th June 2016—Cabinet Secretary Professor Judy Wakhungu today opened the 4th Annual East Africa Timber Trade Stakeholders’ Forum, which focuses on Moving from words to actions: Implementing the Zanzibar Declaration and bi-annual agreements.
The meeting, which is hosted by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and WWF Kenya, aims to build on the commitments made in the Zanzibar Declaration on Illegal Trade in Timber and Forest Products that was finalized and signed in September last year at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.
“This year’s Forum continues to affirm governments’ commitment to improve regional co-operation across Eastern and Southern Africa to curb illegal trade in timber,” said Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya, Professor Judy Wakhungu.
The Declaration was drawn up by the Forest Authorities of Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, and the regional bodies of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC).
“This week’s meeting in Nairobi intends to flesh out some of the high level commitments in the Declaration, including the need to draw up a unifying strategy among the signatories to curb illegal trade in timber and forest products with actions such as reviewing and amending national legislation to tackle illegal trade in timber better, and to implement action plans on existing agreements”, said Julie Thomson, Head of TRAFFIC’s East Africa Office.
“The Zanzibar Declaration was a huge step forward in regional efforts to address the illegal timber trade that robs local communities and national governments of significant income each year. Now those commitments are in place, today is the time to turn the Declaration’s words into action,” said Geofrey Mwanjela, WWF’s Regional Forest Programme Coordinator for Eastern Africa.
During the two-day meeting, Forestry Directors and officers, regional agencies, relevant law enforcement officials, and members of civil society will meet to exchange knowledge while developing and reinforcing partnerships.
Afterwards, a special side meeting for regional Customs and Forestry officials will take place to develop a regional Customs strategy.
The Forum is being co-ordinated by WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade-monitoring network. This year’s Forum is financially supported by the UK Government's DFID and the Swedish Government's SIDA.