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Timber agreement with EU unlikely to save Papuan kwila, says activist

Radio New Zealand International - May 5, 2011

An activist who campaigns for the protection of Papuan forests says an agreement between the European Union and Indonesia over illegally sourced timber probably won't save kwila hardwood from extinction.

Under the new arrangement, auditors will verify that imports of wood products comply with Indonesia's environmental laws. Indonesia exports well over a billion US dollars of timber products to Europe every year.

Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesia Human Rights Committee says illegal logging remains rampant in Papua.

"This move in the EU and moves in the US to do something about the entry of illegally logged timber, I suppose you could say it's a step in the right direction but there's still a heck of a lot of things to be looked into and it's not really likely to solve the kwila problem in itself."

Maire Leadbetter says the agreement doesn't appear to provide for independent cerification of the timber source.