The voices of the Panamanian Government, indigenous communities, producers, traders and other interested parties converge in this commitment to promote the production and use of sustainable timber.
"This is an important action in the fight against illegal logging", said Carlos Espinosa Peña, Forest Director of the WWF office in Panama, referring to the signing, on January 19th, of the agreement to create the Legal Timber Network in Panama. The agreement seeks to promote responsible trade between wood buyers and producers and to ensure that forest products come from legal sources and sustainably managed forests. It was promoted within the framework of the Initiative to Strengthen Forest Governance in Panama supported by WWF, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the FAO FLEGT Program.
The pact was signed by the Panamanian Minister of the Environment, Mirei Endara, the Mayor of Panama City, José Isabel Blandón and representatives of non-governmental organizations, including WWF. The latter said that this helps "to transform the market into a force for forest protection, and [to] facilitate commercial relations between companies and institutions committed to achieving and supporting forest management and responsible trade".
The Legal Timber Network
This platform for dialogue is integrated by representatives of forest production and trade companies, public organizations, indigenous groups and non-governmental organizations that are somehow influenced by the world of forestry in relation to the use of wood. It also has the participation of representatives from technical cooperation agencies, and its commitment includes the promotion of support of programs and incentives to improve both legal and sustainable trade of forest products and their derivatives, as well as forest governance in the country.
"MinAmbiente established the timber dialogue platform in August 2015," said Minister Endara during the signing ceremony, and stated: "this demonstrates the will and commitment from the National Government and key players in the forestry sector to work together to achieve a legal, secure and sustainable market".
The Network will be meeting next February the 7th in order to set up an action plan. Among other objectives, the latter will aim to develop a communications strategy that raises public awareness on the subject. WWF will offer technical assistance during this plan’s implementation. This assistance includes the formulation of both the Central Government’s public procurement policies as well as those of the capital city’s authorities. It also offers technical support to the other members of the network in the formulation and follow-up of their respective action plans.
But the main goal is clear and omnipresent: to promote the responsible production and purchase of forestry products and, consequently, to eliminate illegal logging practices.