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.
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.
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 final workshop was organized in September 2021The 20th Meeting of EGILAT – Virtual Meeting
EGILAT20 was hosted virtually by New Zealand on 13 and 14 August 2021. The meeting was chaired by EGILAT Chair Ms Emma Hatcher (Australia) and opened by New Zealand Minister of Forestry, Stuart Nash. Eighteen economies and seven non-member participants attended the meeting.
Outcomes of the meeting:
- EGILAT members reiterated their support for the adoption of the EGILAT terms of reference (2022–2025).
- The meeting discussed the fora assessment of EGILAT that was conducted by the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) including the outcomes of the Ad Hoc Group on Sunset Reviews established by SOM.
- EGILAT member economies: Australia; China; Indonesia; Japan; New Zealand; Peru; and the United States shared updates on the measures taken on combating illegal logging and promoting trade in legally harvested forest products.
- Members discussed the progress made under the two-year policy theme of “Advancing the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Product.” Australia and the US shared updates on the project’s outputs, which consist of four stakeholder dialogues, industry surveys, and the report that was finalized in November 2021. New Zealand outlined the endorsement of the compendium of resources.
- Chile, through the trade association CORMA, shared the program on “More Women in the Forest Industry.” It was noted the relevance of the presentation for EGILAT members in developing the Implementation Plan of the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth.
- Thailand shared updates on its plan to host the fifth APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry (MMRF5). Thailand explained the ministerial meeting will discuss, among other topics, the efforts to increase forest cover in the region, and innovation for promoting legal timber and associated trade. Ministers will hold a Minister Round Table on “Forest in Bio-Circular-Green Economic (BCG) Model,” and release a joint statement
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.
|February 2021||19th EGILAT||Wellington, New Zealand (virtual)|
|August 2021||20th EGILAT||Wellington, New Zealand (virtual)|
|February 2022||21th EGILAT||Thailand|
|August 2022||22th EGILAT||Thailand|