42. The Commission considered the key issues of illegal logging and trade on the basis of Secretariat Note FO:APFC/2002/5 and a presentation by an invited expert. Delegates deliberated the issues in more detail in four smaller working groups, after which the groups reported the results of their discussions to the plenary.
43. The Commission recognised the highly sensitive nature of the issues related to illegal logging and trade, and the differing definitions and perceptions of various stakeholders. It regarded the mere fact that the subject could be discussed in the Commission as a positive step toward defining the problem and identifying specific remedial measures.
44. Delegates acknowledged that illegal logging and trade are significant in Asia and the Pacific, resulting in widespread negative economic, social and environmental impacts. The Commission noted that the largest markets for illegally harvested timber are within the Asia-Pacific region, with Europe and North America also being significant markets.
45. The Commission emphasised that producers, traders, importing and exporting countries, and consumers all share responsibility for the expansion of illegal logging and should work together to address it. It recognised the recent commitments of many governments and international organisations to address the problem.
46. The Commission acknowledged the complex issues surrounding illegal logging and illegal trade in forest products. It requested that FAO support information sharing related to these issues and consider assistance to member countries in the following areas:
encouraging regional co-operation in combating illegal logging and trade, recognising that action on illegal logging must be focused at the national level;
raising awareness of the economic, social and environmental costs of illegal logging and illegal trade in forest products;
reviewing and disseminating information on successful approaches and cases of curtailing illegal logging and trade;
simplifying and rationalising forest laws and increasing the transparency of forest regulations, where necessary;
reviewing log pricing policies and strengthening capacities in assessing illegal domestic and international timber trade;
applying criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, forest certification and audit and monitoring systems;
formulating and implementing codes of practice for effective forest harvesting; and
promoting increased participation of local people in forest management and enhancing the activities of local organisations, including building their capacity to monitor forest management.
47. The Commission recognised the Ministerial Declaration of the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance East Asia Ministerial Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, in September 2001, as a positive step in gaining commitment and support for actions in combating illegal logging and associated illegal trade. It encouraged member countries and organisations involved to establish without delay a regional task force on forest law enforcement and governance as called for in the Ministerial Declaration.