Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade


The 21 APEC economies account for 2.19 billion hectares of forest cover—over 50 percent of the world’s forests. They also engage in a significant amount of trade in forest products, which represents approximately 80 percent of the international trade in such products.

In 2010, APEC Leaders pledged to enhance cooperation to address concerns with illegal logging and any kind of trade associated with it, and to promote sustainable forest management and rehabilitation.

In 2011, APEC ministers responsible for trade directed officials to establish an experts group to promote trade in legally harvested forest products, combat illegal logging and associated trade, and build capacity. In the same year, at the APEC Leaders’ meeting in Hawaii, Leaders committed to implementing appropriate measures to prohibit trade in illegally harvested forest products and to do more to combat illegal logging and associated trade.

To accomplish this mission, the APEC Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) was created in 2011.

The first EGILAT meeting was held in 2012.

In 2015, EGILAT members reached consensus on a milestone document which clearly identifies the scope of illegal logging and associated trade (APEC Common Understanding of the Scope of Illegal Logging and Associated Trade).

The Goal of EGILAT

EGILAT’s Terms of Reference provides that the group’s overall goal is to enhance the efforts of member economies to take concrete steps to combat* illegal logging and associated trade, promote trade in legally harvested forest products, and support capacity building activities in member economies.

(*As per the EGILAT Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2018–2022, endorsed in 2018, the term “combat” also includes strategies and activities to prevent illegal logging and associated trade, which may be included in the annual work plan of EGILAT. In considering what activities are included within the scope, consideration should be given to the Terms of Reference of EGILAT, and of Leaders’ and Ministers’ directives.)

Timber Legality Guidance Documents

In 2014, EGILAT members have agreed to develop a compendium of timber legality guidance documents, to promote the trade in legally harvested forest products within the APEC region. These documents seek to provide clarity and transparency for businesses, government and civil groups on what constitutes legal and illegally logged timber within individual APEC economies.

Looking Ahead

In 2018, EGILAT members endorsed the EGILAT Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2018–2022 to guide its work over the next five years. Member economies look forward to EGILAT’s capacity building activities and other initiatives, which aim to contribute to APEC’s primary goal to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the milestone the goal of APEC Leaders to increase forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares by 2020.

Last page update: April 2021

Current Activities

EGILAT’s Two-year Policy Theme

In February 2019, at its 15th meeting in Santiago, Chile, EGILAT agreed to implement a dedicated two-year policy theme focused on “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products.”

In implementing the policy theme, EGILAT is seeking to identify:

  • The issues faced by private sector entities throughout the timber supply chain in trading in legally harvested forest products;
  • The existing resources or materials that are available to help private sector entities to trade in legally harvested forest products; and
  • Potential actions that could be undertaken by APEC economies (on an individual and collective basis) and other parties (including the private sector, civil society and international organizations) to support the trade in legally harvested forest products.

A two-day stakeholder workshop on the policy theme was convened in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 4–5 February 2020 in the lead-up to the 17th EGILAT meeting (held on 6–7 February 2020). This workshop is also one of the key outputs of the APEC-funded project, “Advancing the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Products in the APEC Region” (EGILAT 01 2019A). The workshop report can be found here.

The second workshop will be held virtually on 27–28 May 2021 and the third workshop is scheduled in August 2021.

The 19th Meeting of EGILAT – Virtual Meeting

Seventeen economies participated in the 19th EGILAT meeting (EGILAT19) held virtually on 19 and 20 February 2021. In the meeting, EGILAT members and guests discussed the 2020 EGILAT Fora Assessment, shared updates on the implications of COVID-19 on illegal logging and associated trade, exchanged information on combating illegal logging and promoting trade in legal forest products, and discussed the progress regarding the EGILAT policy theme on “Advancing the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Products.”

EGILAT Meetings
The expert group meets twice a year, usually on the margins of the Senior Officials’ Meetings. It also regularly hosts supporting workshops and stakeholder dialogue meetings.

2020 17th EGILAT Putrajaya, Malaysia
  18th EGILAT The APEC Secretariat, Singapore (virtual)
2021 19th EGILAT Wellington, New Zealand (virtual)
  20th EGILAT Wellington, New Zealand (virtual)

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Ms Emma Hatcher

Counsellor (Agriculture)
Australian Embassy Seoul
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