A MAJOR new initiative to tackle illegal deforestation and strengthen legal governance frameworks in tropical forest producer countries has been launched at COP26.

Billed as a "call to action" from the global private sector involved in forest management and timber production globally, the Tropical Timber Accord: Global Forests need Global Governance highlights that strong, inclusive legal frameworks are essential for the sustainable management of tropical forests, which underpins all other climate policy ambitions.

The paper proposes a new governance approach for the global tropical forest sector based on national standards within an international framework. Crucially, it also proposes supporting an international secretariat to administer and oversee the development of this framework.

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Produced from a series of workshops with trade associations and businesses throughout the tropical production belt and facilitated and led by the UK Timber Trade Federation (TTF), the accord is supported by associations in consumer nations including China, Europe and the UK. 

Vel Gnanendran, climate and environment director of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, said: “We really welcome this call to action that the TTF has facilitated.

"We have to be able to support growth in countries across the world where the forests are an important economic resource, but at the same time, protect and support our climate change objectives.”

Sheam Satkuru, director of operations of the International Tropical Timber Organisation, said: “Protecting and growing our global forests cannot be left to “one-sided” approaches, but must be within a continual dialogue which supports sustainable production and shares the cost of enforcement."

David Hopkins, chief executive of the UK Timber Trade Federation, said: “This is the first time that the global private sector of the forestry management and timber production industry has come together to speak with one united voice to advocate for greater global governance and enforceable legal frameworks in supply chains and within producer forest countries.

Forestry Journal: David Hopkins David Hopkins

“Now we need to start to put some of the detail behind those pledges into action, with a far stronger global legal framework governing the management of forests and the trade through the supply chains.”

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The Tropical Timber Accord was launched in the Blue Zone at COP26 within the UK Pavilion on Tuesday and will continue to be featured in the Nature+Zone, Indonesian, and COMIFAC pavilions over the coming days.

The COP26 climate summit is currently being held at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition Centre (SEC) and sees thousands of delegates from around the world engage in crunch talks in their bid to keep a 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) temperature rise within reach. 

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