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Indonesia: Court Finds Company Guilty of Starting Forest Fire

(Feb. 21, 2017) On February 7, 2017, the South Jakarta District Court issued a guilty decision against the company PT Waringin Agro Jaya (WAJ), which markets palm oil.  The company was found to have deliberately lit a fire to clear land in South Sumatra Province, leading to a forest fire.  WAJ was ordered to pay […]

Laos: Illegal Timber Exports

(Dec. 16, 2016) Recent reports indicate that despite a national ban on timber exports issued in May 2016, illegally harvested timber is still being sold at auctions supported by local governments in Laos.  The smuggling is especially common in the central and southern provinces.  (Richard Finney & Ounkeo Souksavanh, Logging Continues in Laos as Provinces […]

Norway: Procurement Law to Stem Deforestation, Protect Human Rights Adopted

(Sept. 16, 2016) On June 17, 2016, the Norwegian Parliament passed a new procurement law that mandates consideration of environmental consequences, human rights, and other social effects in public procurement processes. (Lov om Offentlige Anskaffelser (Anskaffelsesloven), LOV 2016-06-17-73 [Procurement Act No. 73 of June 17, 2016], LOVDATA.) This goal is spelled out in article 5 […]

Japan: Act Aims to Promote Trade in Legally Produced Timber

(July 28, 2016) Japan’s Act on Promotion of Distribution and Use of Legally Logged Wood Products was promulgated on May 20, 2016.  (Act No. 48 of 2016, OFFICIAL GAZETTE (in Japanese).)  Under the new Act, wood product companies may apply for registration, certifying that they will apply measures to trade only in legally produced timber in their […]

Cambodia: Protest Supports Villagers Challenging Foreign Forest Concession

(Sept. 25, 2015) On September 22, 2015, a group of approximately 100 Cambodians from the Phnong ethnic group rallied to support five members of the group who were questioned in court and then released. The issues involved were claims of illegal logging and a land dispute in Kratie Province of eastern Cambodia. The provincial court […]

Indonesia: Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People to Forests

(Apr 29, 2015) On April 18, 2015, Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, issued the “Mataram Declaration,” named after the capital of the province of West Nusa Tenggara. The Declaration is part of the government’s response to a May 2013 ruling of the Constitutional Court giving indigenous groups control of forested […]

ASEAN; Indonesia: Regional Haze Agreement Ratified

(Sept. 22, 2014) On September 16, 2014, Indonesia ratified the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (Haze Agreement), initially signed in 2002. It was the last of the ten signatory nations to ratify the pact; the other participants are Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and […]

Japan: New Water Circulation Basic Act

(May 20, 2014) The Water Circulation Basic Act was promulgated in Japan on April 2, 2014. (Act No. 16 of 2014 [in Japanese], Japanese House of Representatives website (last visited May 16, 2014).) Before the adoption of the Act, Japan did not have a comprehensive law on water. Several government agencies in Japan have jurisdiction […]

Indonesia: Proposal to Reduce Limits on Logging

(Dec. 26, 2013) According to news reports, Indonesia is proposing to resume exports of logs from productive forests. This would reverse a ban on such sales that has been in place for 12 years. The Forestry Ministry plan would allow exports from community plantation forests or industrial forest concessions, as long as the businesses involved […]