UN-REDD Programme countries in East Africa vowed to join forces to implement a coordinated strategy to combat the illegal logging and timber trade. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator together with H.E. Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment, NORWAY, H.E. Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, TANZANIA, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Water and Environment, UGANDA and Mr. David Mbugua, Director - Kenya Forestry Services, KENYA voiced their concern about the diminishing forestry cover in their respective countries. They spoke of the detrimental effect this is having on their economies either in terms of ruined ecosystems affecting biodiversity, and essential for tourism, or underpayments of timber and lost taxes vanishing into foreign tax havens, and even threat to state security due to extent of interconnected organised crime in trafficking and corruption.  Press Release - http://bit.ly/1lRA6tZ

The Tanzanian REDD+ strategy, the ongoing Kenya REDD+ governance project, and the Uganda REDD+ Readiness plan highlight the importance of strengthening law enforcement and forest governance to address the illegal timber trade as one of the key drivers of deforestation. 

“This initiative demonstrates the UN’s strong support to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in tackling illegal logging and trade, and our appreciation to Norway for leading this process,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.  “Moving forward, leadership and agreement on the need to act is critical, and co-operation remains essential.” The government of Norway, a strong global supporter of tropical forests and those that depend on them, has announced its intended support for this important collaboration. UN agencies: FAO, UNDP, UNEP and UNODC are taking an integrated, multi-sectoral approach working together with Interpol. Words 267