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 states 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.
Timber Legality Guidance Documents
In 2014, EGILAT members 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, governments and civil groups on what constitutes legal and illegally logged timber within individual APEC economies.
Last page update: September 2023
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.
EGILAT’s Two-year Policy Theme
On its 15th meeting in Santiago, Chile in February 2019, EGILAT agreed to implement a dedicated two-year policy theme focused on “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products.”
This two-year policy theme (2019–2021) has been successfully completed in December 2021 and were documented in the following publications:
- APEC EGILAT Policy Theme: Advancing the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Products
- APEC EGILAT Survey of Private Sector Organizations in the Forest Products Supply Chain
- The Compendium of Resources for the Facilitation of the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Products in the APEC Region
In 2022, EGILAT members endorsed the EGILAT Policy Theme 2 (2022-2023), “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products: Navigating to legal timber.”
The Policy Theme 2 has three objectives:
- Outline the different approaches to promoting timber legality among APEC economies;
- Consider future opportunities to enhance timber legality measures by exploring available and emerging data, tools and technologies to help navigate the legal timber globally; and
- Improving the Compendium of Resources for the Facilitation of the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest products in the APEC region, published in 2021 as part of Policy Theme 1.
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. In February 2023, the 23rd EGILAT meeting was held in Palm Springs, California in the United States. In August 2023, members convened for their twenty-fourth meeting in Seattle, Washington.