DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Representatives from across East Africa on
Wednesday began a two-day meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi
to discuss implementation of the Zanzibar Declaration on Illegal
Trade in Timber and other Forest Products.
A statement issued
by the Kenya Forest Service and availed to Xinhua said the
meeting will also formally launch a steering committee on the
implementation of the declaration.
Declaration was signed in September 2015 during the XIV World
Forestry Congress in South Africa and has been heralded as a
huge step forward in regional efforts to address the rampant
illegal timber trade in East Africa.
currently include Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Madagascar, and
mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar—under the umbrella of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Eastern
African Community (EAC).
As well as launching
the steering committee and reviewing progress with
implementation of the declaration, member state forestry
department representatives will also discuss a range of shared
issues relating to timber trade, said the statement.
The statement said
issues for discussion included the development of a mechanism to
collaborate on implementation of trade governed under the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), including how to deal with produce
seized from illegal trade.
At the most recent
meeting of the Convention in October 2016, a number of relevant
timber species—including the entire Dalbergia genus—were listed
within Appendix II of CITES, meaning trade is now regulated
through a system of permits.
issue for discussion will be laying the groundwork for a block
agreement between signatories of the Zanzibar Declaration and
importing countries in Asia, such an agreement could have major
economic impact for the region given the high levels of timber
trade currently taking place with East Asia, in particular
“This meeting marks
a significant step forward in efforts to ensure timber trade in
Eastern Africa is managed in a way that brings equitable
benefits to all those engaged in the legal trade chain—everyone
from the local communities on whose land the timber grows all
the way to the end consumers in a distant part of the planet,”
said Emilio Mugo, Chief Conservator of Forest with the Kenya
will also discuss ways to standardize gathering of import,
export and transit records, including the nomenclature of the
species in trade, said the statement.
trade reporting mechanisms may not appear terribly important at
first glance, but it is an absolutely critical issue,” said Said
Hugues, Director of Forest Control in the Directorate General of
The meeting for the
launch of the Steering Committee to the Zanzibar Declaration on
Illegal Trade in Timber and other Forest Products was organized
by TRAFFIC and WWF and hosted by Kenya Forest Service.