A disharmonious trade: China and the continued destruction of Burma’s northern frontier forests | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
janvier 2009
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The report documents on illegal logging and illegal export of timber to China in Kachin State in Burma, which is on the border of China and where deforestation is at its worst. It also documents the response of the relevant authorities in both Burma and China to ‘A Choice for China’, a Global Witnessexposure of the massive illegal timber trade between Burma and China in 2005 which resulted in a ban on logging and timber transportation in Kachin State in Burma and a Chinese ban on the importation of Burmese timber followed by Interim Measures to control the trade.Key findings are:

there is a decline in the Illegal timber trade on the Burma-China border
international trade in timber illegally logged in Kachin Stateis ongoing
there is a decline in illegal logging in Kachin State since the launch of Global Witness’ report ‘A Choice for China’ in October 2005
half of China’s timber imports from all countries are probably illegal.

The paper gives three key recommendations broken down and targeting the different parties involved.The recommendations given are:

end illegal logging in Kachin state and associated Burma- China timber trade
combat illegal logging and associated trade in Asia and beyond
disassociate from human rights abuses in Burma

To the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC):

make all relevant authorities and businesses in China aware of the 11 May 2006 ‘Interim Measures to Manage Timber and Mineral Cooperation between Myanmar and Yunnan Province’
establish permanent measures to manage the Burma- China cross-border timber trade
monitor the environmental and social impacts of Chinese logging companies and Chinese companies clearing forested land for the production of cash crops operating in Burma
ensure that Chinese companies in Burma are made familiar with, and operate in accordance with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and State Forest Administration guidelines for Chinese enterprises engaged in ‘sustainable forest cultivation’ overseas
ensure that the draft guidelines for Chinese enterprises engaged in logging overseas are finalized and issued, following the stakeholder consultations that took place in 2008
encourage “ASEAN Plus Three” to include environmental crimes, in particular the trade in illicit timber, as a priority area for discussion/cooperation
To the State Peace and Development Council
continue efforts to stop illegal and unsustainable logging in Kachin State and end the illegal crossborder timber trade with China
ensure that foreigners and foreign companies are not involved in timber harvesting in Kachin State
ensure that natural resources in Kachin State, including forests, are managed in an equitable, participatory, sustainable, and transparent manner
prepare and implement a national strategy to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)
contribute fully to Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in ASEAN and encourage the participation of the Myanmar Ministry of Forestry, relevant officials within the armed ethnic opposition groups’ administrations, and civil society in FLEG.

To the armed ethnic opposition groups in Kachin State:

notify the relevant authorities in both Burma and China of all illegal timber transportation when it passes through areas under their control and prior to its export to China
suspend logging activities, development projects and commercial operations that are unsustainable or are of questionable economic and social value.

To the International Community:

establish a working group with representatives from the SPDC, armed ethnic opposition groups, civil society, United Nations agencies and the Chinese authorities to facilitate measures to combat continued illegal and unsustainable logging in northern Burma and support initiatives to promote sustainable development in Kachin State
implement a timber procurement policy, which requires central and regional government authorities to purchase only timber and wood-derived products originating from legal and sustainable sources.

Auteurs et éditeurs


Global Witness exposes the hidden links between demand for natural resources, corruption, armed conflict and environmental destruction


Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.  Global Witness is campaigning to end this. We carry out hard-hitting investigations, expose these abuses, and campaign for change.  We are independent, not-for-profit, and work with partners around the world in our fight for justice.

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