Australia hosts Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit and boosts fight against illegal logging

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Today, Australia is the host of the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit that is set to bring together ministers from forest nations and donor countries, corporate leaders and senior officials from key non-government organisation.

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The focus of the Summit will fall on practical actions to reduce forest loss, while recognising the legitimate development aspirations of rainforest nations and communities.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, will host the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Sydney.

The Asia-Pacific Rainforest Stakeholder Dialogue took place yesterday, while both the Summit and the Dialogue will be a parallel event to the World Parks Congress, taking place 12–19 November 2014.

“Deforestation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions,” Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt said at the summit’s launch, reports Yahoo.

“With the Asia-Pacific region home to 6.2 percent of the world’s forests, reducing forest loss can make a big difference to reducing global carbon emissions.”

Australia pledged A$6 million (US$5.2 million) to the fight against illegal logging.

The newly unveiled funds will support the third phase of the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade programme which was established to help nations practice accountable forest management and involves environmental organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Nature Conservancy and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

“Around 500 million people in the Asia-Pacific region depend on forests for subsistence and income. Illegal logging and corruption undermines community livelihoods and taxation streams of national governments. It is also a factor driving high deforestation rates in the region,” it says in the media release issued by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Senator The Hon Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

“Australia has been a long-term supporter of working with the nations in our region to combat illegal logging. The new funding will continue this important work and support the third phase of the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) programme, due to start in July 2015.”

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