Tanzania, Kenya And Uganda Unite Efforts To Combat Illegal Timber Trade In East Africa


Coordinated Approach Set to Curb Trade that Costs World Economy US$30-100 Billion Annually

High-level government representatives from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania today, at the first United Nations Environment Assemble (UNEA), announced their intention to work together, along with INTERPOL and UN agencies, to curb the illegal timber trade that is stripping East Africa of one of its most valuable natural resources.

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.

Illegal logging degrades forests, causes economic loss, destroys biodiversity and livelihoods, promotes corruption, and funds armed conflict. The economic costs of illegal logging are staggering. Including processing, an estimated US$30-100 billion is lost to the global economy through illegal logging every year, making the trade in illegally harvested timber highly damaging to national and regional economies.

Well-managed forests are a vital economic resource that supports the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people. Ecosystem services from tropical forests alone are estimated to be worth, on average, US$6,120 per hectare each year. Africa’s forest cover is estimated at 675 million hectares, or 23 per cent of the continent’s total land area continent. Between 2000 and 2010, 3.4 million hectares were lost annually to illegal logging –equivalent to an area 322 times the size of Paris, or 5.1 million football pitches.