If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

No Compensation for Timber Traffickers

Path Cleared Towards Better Forest Governance in Madagascar

Sochi (Russian Federation) – The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) welcomes the unanimous rejection of the proposed payoff * mechanism to Malagasy rosewood traffickers, agreed upon by the governing body of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES Standing Committee) at its meeting in Sochi. This mechanism was at the heart of a “Business Plan” presented for adoption by Madagascar in an effort to dispose of what is likely the largest and most valuable timber stockpile on Earth – estimated at more than two million precious timber logs. Madagascar had proposed to pay timber barons over US $7 million for recovery of this stolen timber by the government.

During multi-day discussions and extensive deliberations over the Malagasy rosewood and ebony stockpiles, Committee members and observer Parties repeatedly challenged the proposed disposal process, and raised concerns about the fragile and corrupt forest governance in Madagascar. Visibly concerned by the current situation, the Committee recommended Madagascar consider the institution of an Independent Observer – as is the case in the Republic of Congo and Indonesia – which would follow each step of the audit and disposal process, and insisted on robust financial oversight to prevent embezzlement and misuse of funds. A specifically designated fund could ensure support for more forest conservation.

The Standing Committee decisively rejected the compensation mechanism that had been proposed by Madagascar, which aimed to pay alleged “owners” of the illegal timber in order to gain access to the timber stockpiles. In the joint report Paying Off Traffickers: A Costly and Dangerous Precedent, the Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Transparency International (TI) reveal that Madagascar’s move was driven by fear of violent reprisals by timber mafia bosses who are threatening social unrest if the government were to seize the logs without compensation. All of this is occurring against the backdrop of tense upcoming presidential elections later this year and parliamentary elections in 2019.

EIA Executive Director, Alexander von Bismarck, who has personally investigated illegal logging in Madagascar said, “Madagascar and the countries gathered in Sochi have successfully avoided a worst case scenario. Instead Madagascar appears to embark on a new path towards improved forest governance, for which we congratulate it and pledge our continued support to this end.”

* Text approved by the Standing Committee at SC70 without the section in brackets marked in yellow.


Susanne Breitkopf, sbreitkopf@eia-global.org, 202-390-5586

Lindsay Moran, lmoran@eia-global.org, 202-253-0006

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

South Korea Says "아니요" (No) to Illegal Timber
South Korea has joined the ranks of countries prohibiting the import of illegal timber.
Not One More: Another Activist Silenced by Arrest in Madagascar
Christopher Magnenjiky was arrested for obscure and unjust reasons mid-May 2018

Recent Reports

New legal risks for Japanese timber sourcing from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains may seem remote for most Japanese, but lumber stolen from these ancient forests permeates Japan’s housebuilding sector. New reports from Romania and Ukraine reveal the extent of illegal logging, corruption, and bribery practiced by some of Europe’s largest wood processors.
東欧から日本への木材調達に 新しい法的リスク
東欧のカルパチア山脈は、日本人にとって縁遠いところに思われるかもしれないが、その太古の から盗伐された木材が日本の住宅産業のあらゆるところで使われている。ルーマニアおよびウクライナからの新しい報告で欧州最大手の木材加工業者による広範囲な違法伐採、腐敗、贈賄行為について明らかになった。

Recent Press Releases

Global Wildlife Treaty Bans Massive Illegal Timber Trade from Nigeria
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) commends the trade suspension on rosewood from Nigeria, agreed upon by the governing body of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES Standing Committee) at its meeting in Sochi and effective as of October 8, 2018.
Livestream: Defend the Defenders
Musicians from Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band and Guster Join Peruvian Indigenous Leaders, Advocate End to Illegal Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

Recent Videos

The 'S' Files
EIA's series of videos exposing Holzindustrie Schweighofer's involvement in illegal logging in Romania,
The 'S' Files, Case #3: Depot Deception
The latest in EIA's video series, The 'S' Files, Depot Deception shows that Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest timber companies in Europe, appears to be systematically...
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!