The government’s agenda for talks on forestry at September’s World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg has been unveiled by Forestry Minister Elliot Morley.

He says now is the time for action and that the key to progress lies in forging new partnerships with business and with civil society.

Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Foresters‘ national conference in London, Mr Morley said the UK has been at the leading edge of promoting sustainable forest management internationally and implementing it domestically.

Actions include the publication of the UK Forestry Standard; the development and implementation of a UK standard for forest certification; joint working with industry and NGOs on sustainable forestry issues; and leading global efforts to tackle illegal logging.

&#8220We are working directly with the trade and with affected countries to examine what can be done to work with them to strengthen enforcement of forestry laws, and how donors of international development aid can help.”

Elliott Morley, UK forest minister

The government has also committed to only buying timber from legally and sustainably managed sources. Mr Morley said: ‘We are working directly with the trade and with affected countries to examine what can be done to work with them to strengthen enforcement of forestry laws, and how donors of international development aid can help.’

He said that in the run up to the World Summit business leaders, NGOs and government officials will meet regularly to discuss key forestry issues to take to Johannesburg.

He added: ‘We willl be seeking voluntary commitments from business and NGOs to substantial follow up action.’