Jakarta: Indonesia has appealed to world consumers to stop buying products made from illegally logged wood, and said rich countries should pay the poor to preserve forests in the battle against global warming.
Environmentalists say illegal logging in Indonesia strips 2.1 million hectares (5.2 million acres) of forest every year in a trade worth $4 bn (Rs1,80,000 crore).
“I want to appeal to citizens of the world to look for the stamp of approval,” Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar said, adding there were systems in place to distinguish stolen wood from legitimate products.
A report last month by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Indonesia-based Telapak said that Malaysia and China were major recipients of stolen Indonesian timber and that shipping companies from Singapore carried such wood overseas.
Witoelar, who said that furniture using illegally cut timber from the Indonesian region of Papua was being sold in shopping malls as far away as Britain, urged other countries to help oversee whether wood may have been logged illegally.
He was speaking at a news conference with Australian Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was in Jakarta to discuss a new World Bank-backed fund aimed at countering global warming through the protection of forests.
Indonesia wants rich countries to pay developing nations to preserve their forests and plans to push this proposal at a United Nations conference on climate change to be held in the Indonesian resort island of Bali in December.
“We must give the world a breathing space. We do that by breathing life to the lungs of the earth,” he said, adding that many signatories of the Kyoto Protocol would not meet their targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while Australia “will meet our Kyoto target” without ratifying the document.
“Forestry has been largely overlooked by the Kyoto mechanism. That is something we must correct in Bali,” he said.