News, 20 March 2014

Rare opportunity to shape China's impact on global forests

Chinese policymakers and international forestry experts will meet in Shanghai on 27 March to discuss draft guidelines that will affect how Chinese businesses involved in the timber trade can operate.

Timber tracking systems can improve supplies chains by ensuring only legally harvested wood reaches the market. Credit: Karl Ammann / Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Creative Commons)

The meeting will provide international stakeholders with a rare opportunity to share their views with policymakers at China's State Administration of Forestry and the Chinese Academy of Forestry, which have co-produced the draft guidelines for sustainable overseas trade and investment in forest products .

The meeting is part of a larger three-day (25-27 March) event that aims to promote legal, sustainable trade and investment in forest products. It will include sessions on:

  • The role of China in the global timber trade
  • Opportunities and changes for Chinese forestry enterprises
  • The current status of production and trade in rosewood, a highly valuable but over-exploited form of tropical timber.

As a supporter of the event, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED ) has arranged for several of its partners from government agencies, civil society and private sector interests in Africa and Asia to attend.

"China's authorities are keen to learn from international experts about ways to ensure that Chinese companies dealing in timber and timber products do so sustainably," says Xiaoxue Weng, a researcher in IIED's China team.

"The meeting is a great opportunity for Chinese and non-Chinese policymakers and other stakeholders to exchange ideas about how to guarantee legal, sustainable trade in forest products," says Cook. "This will help Chinese businesses to understand how to trade and invest in ways that promote sustainability, while meeting domestic and international market requirements on legality of timber and other products."

"This meeting is important because stakeholder consultation is a critical component of good forest governance," says James Mayers, head of IIED's natural resources group. "China's influence on distant forests is growing. This creates opportunities to ensure that trade and investment can provide forest dependent communities with the economic and environmental benefits that are the foundation of sustainable forestry."

The three day meeting has been co-organised by the Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information of the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Center for International Forest Products Trade of the State Forestry Administration of China, with support from Forest Trends, the European Forest Institute's EU FLEGT Facility, IIED, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and  the Global Environmental Institute.

Contact

Contacts for interviews

James Mayers (james.mayers@iied.org)

Xiaoxue Weng (xiaoxue.weng@iied.org)

Notes to editors

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see: www.iied.org).

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