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MEDIA RELEASE
Acting Minister for Primary Industries & Energy, Warwick Parer
Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill

DPIE98/19AJ
5 March 1998

MINISTERS WELCOME INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE FOREST MANAGEMENT IN ASIA PACIFIC REGION


The Acting Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Senator Warwick Parer, and the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, welcomed a decision by the Food and Agriculture Organisation's Asia-Pacific Regional Forestry Commission to endorse a Code of Forest Harvesting Practice for the region.

The Code was developed with Australian Government funding and was formally adopted at the Commission's 17th meeting from 23-27 February in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

"The Code will improve the ability of countries in the region to manage their forest resources," Senator Parer said. "It demonstrates Australia's continuing commitment to helping achieve sustainable forest management in the region."

Senator Hill said the Asia-Pacific region had some of the most important biological resources in the world.

"The implementation of the Code will reduce damage to water supplies and forest-dependent species from harvesting and enable greater long-term environmental and economic returns from the region's forests."

The Code has been developed as a model for countries in the region wishing to develop or review their forest harvesting codes or equivalent arrangements. Australian expertise was used to develop a draft Code, which was then refined through regional workshops organized by Indonesia. The Commission is now establishing arrangements to work with countries in the region to help implement the Code.

"The Code builds on the success of a model code for the South Pacific adopted in 1995 and subsequent training and development activities directed at implementing that Code," the Ministers said.

Media Contacts:
Robert Haynes, Minister Anderson's Office (02) 6277 7440
Matt Brown, Minister Hill's Office (02) 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia