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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

North Malaitan and Solomons Commissioner of Forestry attends Sydney Conference on combating illegal logging


Commissioner of Solomon Islands Forestry Division and North Malaitan, Mr Gordon Konairara is attending a three-day conference to combat illegal logging in the Pacific.

The conference is being held in Sydney, Australia, starting yesterday. Department of Forest and Conservation said the Australia Government has invited the Forestry Division to participate in the high level meeting on forest and climate.

Media reports from Australia said the meeting will discuss a satellite monitoring system to combat illegal logging and the destruction of native forests in the Pacific, especially Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Indonesia.

Officials from the US, China, Brazil, Indonesia and PNG are also attending the meeting.

The Government of Australia hopes it can eventually used the satellite programme as a global model to measure deforestation. The satellite system will be in place by next year with the Howard Government pressing ahead to install some of the critical equipment in the north of Australia.

Launched this year with $200 million in funding, the idea of the scheme is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by tackling deforestation around the world. Each day, more than 4.4 million trees are destroyed accounting for around 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

Native forest destruction has pushed Indonesia to the world’s number three greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China according to the World Bank. Large-scale deforestation is most severe in South East Asia, Brazil and Central Africa. This year the British Government set up a fund to battle large-scale forest clearing in the Congo.

Mr Turnbull has strongly promoted the forests initiative in the US and Indonesia saying that if global deforestation was halved, greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by three billion tonnes a year, or 10 per cent of total emissions.

The conference in Sydney will concentrate on what officials describe as ‘practical measures’ to combat global deforestation. These include promoting technology like satellite radar to help monitor and measure deforestation in Indonesia, the Philippines, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

It will also promote better forest management and planting of new forests in the region. The forests programme was criticised, especially by the greens, when it was launched in March because it encourages only voluntary measures to reduce deforestation without binding targets. It is also operating outside the UN negotiations on slowing deforestation.

But officials say the Australian Government aimed to put the forest issue high on the agenda for the crucial UN negotiations in Bali later this year on climate change. The Government wants any targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions to take into account gains from combating large-scale destruction of forests. Mr Konairamo will return to Honiara by the end of this week.

Source: Solomon Star

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