Australia's role in reducing regional deforestation

30 May 2011

This policy brief details what role, if any, Australia should play in limiting the process of deforestation and forest degradation in neighboring ‘rainforest nations’ – especially Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Peter Kanowski looks at Australia’s participation in international forest processes as well as regional capacity building for more sustainable forest management, and analyses the reasons behind the Australian government’s shifting funding commitment to environment and natural resource management. He argues that Australia should take an active role in reducing deforestation in the Asia-Pacific region through supporting and developing the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) as well as halting the importation of illegally-sourced timber into Australia by endorsing credible forest certification schemes.

Colin Filer reviews Australia’s influence on forest policy in Papua New Guinea over the past two decades, highlighting various constraints, policy failures and an unassertive approach by the Australian government as key features. For these reasons he argues that, going forward, the Australian government should be aware of its limited capacity to influence natural resource management in PNG.

Luca Taconi details the REDD+ initiative and examines how it can contribute to bringing in both significant funding and an overall reduction in emissions. He argues that Australia has played a leading global role in promoting the establishment of this new mechanism and should continue with its efforts to see it fully developed and eventually implemented, both globally and in the Asia-Pacific region.

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