Former Minister for the Environment, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, hosted the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Sydney on 11 – 12 November 2014.
The Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit attracted close to 300 policy and technical experts. The event included dialogues which focused on the practical and technical aspects of monitoring forests, combating illegal logging, protecting biodiversity, community and indigenous groups in forest management and eliminating deforestation from global supply chains. The Summit invited Ministers and Vice-Ministerial officials to share their views and outline efforts underway to help slow the loss of the region’s forests.
Ministers and senior officials from the region spoke on national plans to protect forests. Addresses were delivered by: H.E. Noulinh Sinbandhit, Minister of National Resources and Environment (Lao PDR), Mr Ha Cong Tuan, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (SR of Vietnam), H.E. Douglas Tomuriesa, Minister for Forests (Papua New Guinea), The Hon Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Lands, Geology, Mines and Water Resources (Vanuatu), H.E. Osea Naiqamu, Minister for Fisheries and Forests (Republic of Fiji) and Senator Jorge Viana, Vice-President of Brazilian Senate (Brazil).
The event also included the participation of senior officials from China, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia and Germany, as well as leaders from civil society, including the president and director general of International Union for Conservation of Nature, the director general of UNESCO, the executive directors of the Centre for International Forestry Research and International Tropical Timber Organisation and the president of Conservation International.
The Asia-Pacific Rainforest Stakeholder Dialogue, on 11 November 2014 brought together technical and policy experts to exchange views on key issues affecting rainforests and practical approaches working in the region.
Outcomes of the Summit
The Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture announced $6 million of funding for the third phase of the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) program to combat illegal logging, contribute to efforts to reduce deforestation, and support sustainable forest management in the region.
Leaders from government made national statements about practical action to protect rainforests, for example:
- Papua New Guinea will bring forward a moratorium on round log exports from 2030 to 2020
- Vietnam has a national target to have 42 per cent of production forests under sustainable forest management processes by 2015 and 45 per cent by 2020
- Laos aims to preserve existing forest cover and restore an estimated 6.6 million hectares of degraded forest
- Indonesia will preserve 63 million hectares of sensitive, vital peat land which would otherwise have been threatened
A number of corporations, international organisations and civil society groups also showcased their work in combating rainforest destruction in the region.