19 May 2005

Environmentalists urge China and Indonesia to co-operate to stop illegal logging in Papua

4:09 pm on 19 May 2005

The lobby group, Environmental Investigation Agency, is using a UN Forum on Forests to encourage Indonesia and China to work more co-operatively to stop illegal logging in Indonesia's Papua province.

The Agency's Sam Lawson, who is attending this week's Forum in New York, helped compile the February report which uncovered the world's biggest smuggling racket involving a single type of wood.

The report prompted the Indonesian government to launch a two-month operation to crackdown on the illegal timber trade.

But despite hundreds of subsequent arrests, Mr Lawson says the crackdown failed to catch key figures in the lucrative illegal trade.

And he says since most of the logs leaving Papua go to China, more must be done in China.

"There's large cargo vessels leaving every day or so, being stopped on occasion at the Papua end. But at the China end we've not seen any action so far. And until the Chinese start helping the Indonesians by stopping these vessels when they arrive in China, then it's going to be very difficult for the problem to be solved."

Sam Lawson of the Environmental Investigation Agency