Washington, DC - At a U.S. State Department event scheduled for 4:45 p.m. today, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will announce the President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging. The initiative aims to assists developing countries in reducing illegal logging and addressing corruption in the forest sector.
The World Bank has estimated that the loss of revenue to governments due to illegal logging is US $5 billion annually, with a further US $10 billion lost to the economies of producing countries. The President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging extends a much needed helping hand to developing countries that are struggling to curb a crisis that is decimating wildlife habitat, driving species loss and dooming to poverty the human communities that depend on these natural forest resources for their very survival. Globally, deforestation is occurring at the rate of roughly an acre a second. Logging is not the only cause, but it is a major one.
WWF has been working to conserve forests for over 40 years and has focussed for over a decade on reducing illegal logging in Asia, the Congo Basin and the Amazon Basin. The following WWF experts are available for comment on the President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging and the threats posed by illegal logging to the world's forests, wildlife and economies:
- David Sandalow, WWF's Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund, is currently responsible for management of WWF's conservation, advocacy and research programs. Prior to his current position, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science. In this capacity he helped manage U.S. diplomacy on a broad range of environment, science and technology issues. Prior to his State Department post, Sandalow advised the President and Vice President on global environmental issues, while serving jointly as Senior Director for Environmental Affairs, National Security Council and Associate Director for the Global Environment, White House Council on Environment.
- Brooks B. Yeager, Vice President for World Wildlife Fund's Global Threats Program, supervises the efforts of five campaign teams working to conserve global forests and ocean resources, to avert damage to the global environment from climate change and toxic pollution, and to assure that world commerce is environmentally sustainable. Before joining WWF, Yeager was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Development at the U.S. State Department. At State, Yeager was responsible for the development and negotiation of U.S. Government policy in a wide variety of global environmental discussions.