Experts from APEC countries share experiences in developing timber legality assurance systems at workshop in China

Timber and forestry experts from government agencies, NGOs, certification bodies, research institutions and the timber industry from 10 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries shared their experiences in developing timber legality assurance systems during a workshop hosted by China in Qingdao on 6 May. China will use the lessons learnt to further develop its national timber legality assurance system. 

Representatives from Australia, the EU and the United States explained their legislation, which allows only legal timber to be placed on their markets, and the systems that underpin it. Representatives from producing countries shared their experiences of establishing systems to verify the legality of their timber. 

A legality assurance system makes it possible for the private sector and for government to identify, monitor and license legally produced timber. The participants discussed the importance of developing timber legality assurance systems, the key building blocks of such systems, major challenges faced when developing and implementing a credible timber legality assurance system and how to overcome those challenges. 

The Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information of the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Center for International Forest Products Trade of the State Forestry Administration organised the workshop before the fifth meeting of the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT). A summary of the discussions was submitted to the expert group.