KUCHING: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia has given its backing to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in his fight against illegal logging in Sarawak.
Its chief executive, Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, said illegal logging was carried out without a prescribed harvesting plan and no consideration for the environment.
“This is highly destructive to the long-term existence of flora and fauna, especially rare, threatened and endangered species, and is highly detrimental to the livelihood of people depending on the forest,” he said in a statement.
He said Sarawak was gearing towards forest certification by promoting wide-scale sustainable forest management and must not let illegal logging activities jeopardise the state government’s goal.
“We support the Chief Minister’s effort in this and will assist the state government in addressing illegal logging problems,” he said.
Dionysius added that Adenan’s recent instruction to major timber players to obtain forest certification by 2017 was a positive step.
He said this must be followed by stringent implementation of existing forest policies.
“In fact, Sarawak has good forest policies but as the Chief Minister mentioned, there is a need to review some of the outdated legislation including the penalty,” he said.
In addition, he said, there was a need for clearer distinction of executive powers between government agencies to manage forest reserves and carry out monitoring work in the state.
Another approach, he said, was to put pressure on major buyers of timber products from Sarawak to carry out due diligence on their suppliers.
He also called for an independent third-party auditing system which would enhance transparency and strengthen the state’s credibility in improving its forest management.
“Having such a system will increase buyers’ confidence that they are purchasing legally-produced timber,” he said. – By SHARON LINGRelated story:
Authorities must make concerted efforts to stop illegal logging