June 9, 2011

New Ecosystems Climate Alliance Report Looks at Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and REDD+.

Filed under: 9th Conference, biodiversity, climate, Forests — inece @ 9:02 pm

credit: Anton Raath

A new paper developed by the Ecosystems Climate Alliance looks at the relationship between Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and REDD+. The paper argues that Parties should not allow the extensive work put into REDD+ to now be undermined by the use of alternative and less stringent provisions relating to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Activities (NAMAs). The paper identifies two key issues that need to be resolved to avoid the possibility of NAMAs undermining REDD+:

  1. Parties should clarify that mitigation activities in the forest sector, including those considered as NAMAs, must comply with the REDD+ provisions, and
  2. Parties should also develop suitable safeguards applicable to NAMAs, drawing upon lessons learnt from the REDD+ safeguards.

To access the paper, visit Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions – Undermining REDD+ in the Forest Sector?

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April 4, 2011

Philippines Creates Anti Illegal Logging Task Force

Filed under: Asia, biodiversity, Environmental Crime, Forests — inece @ 7:27 pm

Flickr User Roberto Verzo

To ensure enforcement of Executive Order 23, the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office in Legazpi City announced the creation of the Regional Anti Illegal Logging Task Force on 23 March 2011.

To view the full story, click here: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=24041

February 9, 2011

Report Estimates Global Environmental Crime at $40 Billion Annually

Filed under: biodiversity, Environmental Crime, Forests — inece @ 10:55 pm

A new report by Global Financial Integrity, entitled “Transnational Crime in the Developing World,” ranks four types of environmental smuggling among the top ten most valuable trade flows in the world.

The illegal traffic in oil, wildlife, timber and fish together are valued at close to $40 billion, according to the report which also outlines the role of transnational crime syndicates and their vast trade networks in facilitating this trade.

For the full report, please visit: http://transcrime.gfip.org/.

February 7, 2011

World Leaders Call for Sustainable Forest Management at Launch of UN Year of Forests

Filed under: biodiversity, Forests, UN System — inece @ 7:52 pm

From the UN Media Release:

Environmental experts and world leaders called today for the sustainable management of forests in the interest of human development as the United Nations Forum on Forests began its High-level Ministerial Segment by launching the International Year of Forests, 2011, which was followed by discussions on people-centred forestry and financing for forest communities.

“We have a chance to agree on how best to realize the full potential of forests — for sustainable development, economic stability, the fight against poverty and our efforts to ensure future prosperity for all,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he opened the proceedings via video message.  By proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly had created an important platform from which to educate the global community about the great value of forests, while continuing to link all global efforts in sustainable forest management following on the climate agreements reached in Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010 and leading up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Key to sustainable forest management is ensuring compliance with national law to protect forest resources, including predictable and appropriate enforcement responses to violations. For information on INECE’s work on promoting compliance and enforcement for forest protection, see http://www.inece.org/forumslogging.html.

Additional resources: For the full media release, see http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2011/envdev1188.doc.htm. To watch the webcast of the launch ceremony of the International Year of Forests, please visit UN Webcast. See also, the web page for the UN Forum on Forests, http://www.un.org/esa/forests/.

December 8, 2010

Google Satellite Platform to Support REDD Efforts

Filed under: biodiversity, Forests, water management — inece @ 7:16 pm

Google has introduced new mapping technology during the UNFCCC Climate Meetings in Cancun, Mexico, that will help monitor forest carbon projects.

Screenshot of Google's Earth Engine Map of Mexico Forest Cover

Google Earth Engine is a new technology platform that puts an unprecedented amount of satellite imagery and data—current and historical—online for the first time. It enables global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment. The platform will enable scientists to use our extensive computing infrastructure—the Google “cloud”—to analyze this imagery…

Google Earth Engine can be used for a wide range of applications—from mapping water resources to ecosystem services to deforestation. It’s part of our broader effort at Google to build a more sustainable future. We’re particularly excited about an initial use of Google Earth Engine to support development of systems to monitor, report and verify (MRV) efforts to stop global deforestation. Excerpted from the Official Google Blog.

Traditional forest monitoring is complex and expensive, requiring access to large amounts of satellite data, lots of hard drives to hold the data, lots of computers to process the data, and lots of time while you wait for various computations to finish. Our prototype demonstrates how Earth Engine makes all of this easier, by moving everything into the cloud. Google supplies data, storage, and computing muscle. As a result, you can visualize forest change in fractions of a second over the web, instead of the minutes or hours that traditional offline systems require for such analysis. From the Official Google Blog.

For more information, see , Google unveils satellite platform to aid forest efforts (Reuters) and Scientists turn to Google for answers (The Independent).

December 6, 2010

New EU Rules on Sale of Illegal Timber Enter into Force

Filed under: biodiversity, Europe, Forests — Tags: — inece @ 9:00 pm

A European Union press release announces that new EU rules on illegal timber have entered into force.

New rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market have come into force across the EU. The legislation will strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging which causes serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss and undermines the efforts of those trying to manage forests responsibly. The Regulation, which was first proposed by the Commission in 2008, was adopted by the EU last month and will apply in all Member States from March 2013.

The new Regulation will ban the sale on the EU market of illegal timber or of products derived from illegally harvested timber.

operators selling timber and timber products for the first time on the EU market -whether they come from the EU or are imported – will need to know where their timber is from. They will have to take steps to make sure that it has been harvested according to the relevant laws of the country of harvest. Traders along the supply chain within the EU will need to keep records of who their timber or timber product was bought from and to whom it was sold.

Member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators who break the rules. Legality is defined by reference to the legislation of the country where the timber was harvested. Timber products from countries that have entered into Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU will be considered to be in compliance with the Regulation. The Regulation will apply to a wide range of timber and timber products, including solid timber products, plywood and board products, furniture, pulp and paper.

December 1, 2010

New Illegal Logging and Environmental Crime Network Launches in Southern Europe

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, Environmental Crime, Europe, Forests, INECE Secretariat — Tags: — inece @ 6:41 pm

Stumps from Illegally Harvested Trees in Hungary

On 24-25 November 2010, the Regional Environment Center (REC) launched a new environmental compliance and enforcement network, Themis, which is dedicated to responding to illegal logging and other environmental crime in South Eastern European countries (SEE) and the Ukraine.

Themis, which will convene under the INECE banner, will be an informal network of national authorities responsible for natural resource management and protection working towards the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law in the SEE.

Illegal logging is frequently associated with organized crime, with breakdowns in institutional controls, and with ineffective institutions. Illegal trade in forest resources can increase tensions across borders and with the international community. The effects of illegal logging are wide ranging and include loss of habitats and biodiversity; the erosion and degradation of river basins and water quality; land degradation; desertification and climate change; social disruption; and economic impacts on tourism, recreation and communities with traditional lifestyles.

During the launching conference in Budapest, eight countries committed to participating in the network, with support from international organizations including Interpol, TRAFFIC, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and INECE.

The Belgian Federal Government, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland are  providing funding for the network.

Additional information about the activities of the Themis network is available online at http://illegallogging.rec.org.

November 29, 2010

INECE to Host Side Event on Strengthening Compliance to Protect Ecosystem Services at the UN Climate Conference

Filed under: climate, Forests, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 11:30 pm

On 7 December 2010, INECE will host a side event on Networks to Assure Compliance with Ecosystem Climate Protection Policies and Measures during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 16).

During the session, government stakeholders including from Norway, Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Japan will participate in a facilitated discussion on strengthening compliance with laws and policies designed to protect, sequester, and maintain carbon in forests, wetlands, and farmland.  Trends toward market-based regulatory mechanisms to drive and deliver carbon benefits from these ecosystems require new approaches and tools for law enforcement and capacity building.

Event Information:

Networks to Assure Compliance with Ecosystem Climate Protection Policies and Measures
Tuesday, 7 December 2010 from 15:00 -16.30
Moon Palace Hotel
Tequila Building
In the The Bellona Room (Next to the Norwegian Delegation’s Room on the 1st Floor)
Cancún, Mexico, during the UN Climate Conference

The event is by invitation only. Please contact inece@inece.org for more information on participation.

See http://www.inece.org/climate/ for more information on INECE’s Climate Compliance work.

October 27, 2010

Central Europe and US Exchange on Environmental Compliance: Part II

V4 participants and facilitator discuss natural resources management.

INECE, in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, coordinated a two-phase joint project on environmental inspections and enforcement with participants from the Visegrad Group countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia (V4).  In the first phase, participants from the V4 countries traveled to the United States on 20-25 September 2010. The second phase was executed on 18-21 October 2010 when U.S. experts traveled to a regional meeting convened in the Czech Republic.

During the second phase,  discussions went into greater depth on key environmental enforcement issues relating to the specific situations in the V4 countries.

On the pollution side, the discussion focused on contaminated site remediation, program performance measures, analysis and planning. A Hungarian expert shared remarks on the red mud disaster in Ajka after the collapse of the waste storage ponds. The study tour group participated in a site visit to large chemical installation and old silver mine in Central Bohemia.

On the natural resources side, the balance between forest management and nature protection requirements was discussed. The host country presented the Czech National Forest Program, which is designed to facilitate a dialogue among stakeholders to  find a balance between economical, environmental, and social requirements. Topics discussed also included an overview of law enforcement in forests within the protected areas, protection of endangered species, illegal logging, violation of reforestration duty, as well as special management within the Natura 2000 sites (designed in accordance European Birds and Habitats Directives). The V4 study tour participants were invited to a site visit at Protected Landscape Area Broumovsko.

As follow-up to the two workshops, a list of the best practices will be issued as a basis for future use in V4 countries. Reports from the programme with findings from the exchange of experiences will be presented at the relevant institutions and meetings and disseminated through IMPEL and INECE networks. Participants of the workshops will share their knowledge and recommendations from the project as the trainers in their own organizations.

October 14, 2010

WRI Looks at “Insights from Another Lacey Case”

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, Environmental Crime, Forests — inece @ 12:09 pm

The World Resources Institute published a short article, Declarations and Due Care: Insights from Another Lacey Case, which looks at a recent enforcement action under the U.S. Lacey Act, a demand-side regulation designed to control illegal logging.  The article presents six recommendations to help companies stay in compliance.

For the WRI article, click Declarations and Due Care: Insights from Another Lacey Case. Declaraciones y el Concepto de “Debido Cuidado”: Lecciones de Otro Caso Lacey también está disponible en español (desplácese hacia abajo la página).

For background on the Lacey Act’s amendment to include illegal logging, see INECE’s article, The U.S. Lacey Act Will Help Protect Forests Worldwide.

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