NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
African countries have pledged to tame illegal trade
in timber and other forest products by ensuring that the sub-sector
makes a meaningful contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic
Product (GDP), a conservationist said on Tuesday.
Kenya’s Chief Conservator of Forest Emilio Mugo said representatives
from Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zanzibar
(Tanzania) who met in Nairobi on Tuesday agreed to take stern action
against those caught in the illegal trade of the products.
“Illegal trade in timber and forest products is not only degrading
the rich forests assets of the region but also represents an
enormous loss in economic values and livelihood opportunities to the
countries,” Mugo said at the end of a two-day meeting.
He noted that the 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.
Mugo said that the meeting agreed to assist people with timber
products to benefit from the products by ensuring that they reap
maximum profit from the consumers.
The meeting followed the Zanzibar Declaration meeting that was
signed in September 2015 during the XIV World Forestry Congress in
Since signing the declaration, the countries have seen huge progress
in addressing rampant illegal trade in the member countries.
They agreed develop a mechanism to collaborate on implementation of
trade governed under the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
“We have jointly agreed to pursue the Global Environmental Facility
funding opportunity to help improve our forest cover and also fight
climate change effects,” Mugo added.
The members also agreed to deal with produce seized from illegal
trade and raise fund to help improve the state of environment in the
The Kenya Forest Service is partnering with the Timber Manufacturers
Association in establishing tree seedlings to help achieve and
surpass her set goal of 10 percent tree cover.
The tree nurseries in the country currently produce 2.5 million
indigenous seedlings and are set to increase to 4.5 million.
“This will immensely boost the rehabilitation program throughout the
country,” TMA chairman Benson Gitau said.
He noted that trees will be planted especially in arid and semi arid
regions to help reduce land degradation.