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 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.
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, in Santiago, Chile, during its 15th meeting, 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 with 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
The next EGILAT policy theme (2022–2024) will focus on “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products: Navigating to legal timber,” with possible activities as follows:
- Compile the relevant timber legality frameworks, measures and other requirements of APEC economies
- Develop a library of shared (on a voluntary basis) data, technologies and resources, including stakeholder networks that can assist with navigating to legal timber
- Deliver a series of stakeholder workshops to further explore approaches to timber legality, as well as the utility of data, tools and technologies for timber legality
- Further develop the Compendium of Resources, including publishing online in different languages, with updated and additional information (potentially incorporating data, technologies and resources)
The 21st Meeting of EGILAT – Virtual Meeting
EGILAT’s 21st meeting (EGILAT21) was hosted virtually by Thailand on 14 and 15 February 2022. The meeting was presided over by EGILAT Chair Ms Jennifer Conje (United States) and opened by Director General of the Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Mr Surachai Achalaboon. Seventeen economies and four non-member participants attended the meeting.
Outcomes of the meeting:
- EGILAT welcomed the outputs of its two-year policy theme (2019–2021) “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products” which consist of a policy theme report, a private-sector survey, and a compendium of resources
- EGILAT members discussed the new policy theme (2022–2024) “Advancing the trade and distribution of legally harvested forest products: Navigating to legal timber”
- EGILAT members supported Thailand’s plan to host The Fifth APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry (MMRF5) in August 2022 and suggested for Thailand to circulate the relevant document on MMRF5 for further review by members
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|