Helen Clark: Speaking Notes for the Media Roundtable on Illegal Logging, Timber Trade, and REDD+ at the United Nations Environment Assembly

26 Jun 2014

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Speaking Notes
for the
Media Roundtable on
Illegal Logging, Timber Trade, and REDD+
at the
United Nations Environment Assembly
Nairobi, Kenya

•    I am delighted to address you today on behalf of FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNODC and Interpol.

•    By speaking with one voice here today, we are affirming not only our support to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in tackling illegal logging and trade, but also our commitment to do so coherently, jointly, and collaboratively.

•    We very much welcome the bold initiative and courage of the distinguished ministers present here today, as the issue at hand is sensitive and complex. Their words just now have confirmed the harm from illegal logging to their economies. We feel it is our duty to put all our skills, competencies, and knowledge together to support them in this endeavour.

•    This matter is intimately related to many critical issues, including national security, civil unrest, and illegal trade networks, as well as the rule of law and natural resources management and deforestation, climate change, development and job creation. It also involves law enforcement, judiciary institutions, and cross-border collaboration.

•    To address these issues effectively, we need a range of interventions across the whole chain and across borders. A comprehensive response needs to include:

1.    Strengthening enforcement and apprehending criminals, on which our colleagues from Interpol have substantial experience;

2.    Deterrent approaches such as the “UNODC container control programme” to benefit not only the three countries involved, but also other countries whose timber transits through the major hubs of Dar and Mombasa;

3.    Strengthening transparency and accountability;

4.    Permit systems for forest concessions and the provision of resources for fuel and cooking wood, which do not penalize the poorest of the poor; and

5.    Ensuring that the existing incentives to pursue illegal rewards are countered by the availability of legal jobs and livelihoods.

•    As we all know, complex issues call for comprehensive, cross-sector responses. As international organizations supporting variously the national judiciary, police, customs, transport, environment, and forestry institutions in your countries, it is essential that we organize and co-ordinate our support to you. Illegal trade networks are highly organized and structured. High levels of organization and structure are needed to counter them.

•    Beyond the contribution to reducing deforestation and helping curb climate change, we firmly believe that this initiative will benefit humanity as a whole. The ripple effects of strengthening institutions such as customs, and law enforcement will be positive for combating other illegally traded goods, such as wildlife, or drugs and weapons.  

•    As a former head of government, I know that leadership is key, agreement on the need to act is critical, and a co-operative spirit is essential. As we move forward with this initiative, we, as international organizations, are committed to support you in creating that space for action and the necessary leadership, and commitment across all sectors of government.

•    All of this would not be possible without the political, moral, and financial support of the international community. That is why the generous intent of Norway to put forward the resources needed is so greatly appreciated.

•    We look forward to taking all the necessary steps to start the implementation, and count not only on the financial assistance, but also on the political power of our Nordic partner to help us raise the issue in the right political arenas.

•    In closing, allow me to reconfirm, on behalf of FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNODC and Interpol, present here today, our commitment to your commitment.