Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania to work with Interpol, UN to curb illegal timber trade via REDD+ initiative; countries to address in-country logging and poached timber transportation across borders, reduce emissions related to forest loss

June 27, 2014 () – HIGH-level government representatives from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania announced their intention to work together, along with INTERPOL and United Nations agencies, to curb the illegal trade in timber.

The announcement, aimed at halting the crime that is is stripping East Africa of one of its most valuable natural resources, has been made in Nairobi at the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

The East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ represents an innovative cross-border, multi-sectoral effort that will create a powerful deterrent to Africa's illegal timber trade.

In addition to facing the challenges of illegal logging within their borders, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are also used as transit countries for timber illegally logged in other countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Tanzanian strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), the on-going Kenya REDD+ governance project and the Uganda REDD+ readiness plan highlight the importance of strengthening law enforcement and forest governance to address the illegal timber trade as one of the key drivers of deforestation.

According to governments, these countries recognize that illegal logging must be mitigated, and forests managed sustainably, in order to reduce emissions from forest loss.

As such, a key goal of the initiative is to curb illegal logging and trade in East Africa as a way to address deforestation and subsequently reduce emissions from forests.

The East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ provides an opportunity to build on each country's experiences combatting the illegal timber trade, and brings in the specialized expertise of INTERPOL and each collaborating UN agency.

The five agencies will assist the governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to address a different facet of the illegal trade in timber: from economic drivers, and corruption, to law enforcement, customs control, and monitoring.

Copyright CAJ News Agency. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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