Friday, May 8, 2009

The UK and Australia block urgently-needed forestry reform

Australia and the UK blocked reforms in the global forest industry this week. At the third design meeting of the World Bank Forest Investment Program (FIP) that took place in Washington in the last few days the UK took the lead in blocking consensus for safeguard criterion on the “integrity of natural forests”. The UK supported the conversion of native forests to plantations as well as the destructive process of clearfelling. The UK insisted upon the definition of ‘forest’ as one that includes industrial tree monocultures. If the UK successfully gets its way on the latter point “the replacement of the Amazon (rainforest) by oil palm plantations, as currently being planned by the Brazilian government, would not be regarded ' deforestation" under these definitions."

“The Australian government, which was not represented at the meeting itself, made a quite scandalous move by passing the message that they could not accept any text recognizing the right to free prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples regarding FIP funded activities. This is particularly remarkable as the Australian government just adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, which clearly recognizes this right. And to our surprise, almost all other countries were willing to accept this principle.” [1]

[1] From the plantationsaustralia yahoogroup

terra nullius and plantations
Posted by: "james jones" amisanthony
Date: Wed May 6, 2009 10:43 pm ((PDT))

4 comments: said...

Did the US support their Anglo pals on this matter?

Myrtle Blackwood said...

The quote from the article about the US participation goes:

"Admittedly, the US made some trouble too, but they seem to be willing to move on this, and
all other countries agreed, despite some initial opposition.

The trouble with looking at things country by country is that the so-called forest corporations are transnational in nature. They, in turn, are co-owned and managed by other trans-national companies in different (but often related) industries. For example:

"An Australian subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is News Ltd. This company, in turn owned Pacific Publications (PMP) which was created as a spin off of this giant global corporation’s magazine divisions in Australia. In 1997 News Ltd sold their stake in the company. Later, in March 2003, the president of Norske Skog's (a Norwegian multinational) Australian division, David Kirk, became the new CEO of Pacific Publications (PMP) at which time the Seven Network (television) in Australia had full control of Pacific Publications [1]. PMP's primary business is described as commercial printing,
So here we have an interesting situation where the CEO (David Kirk) of the company that contracts the majority of newsprint supply in Australia (Norske Skog) subsequently heading the leading commercial printer in Australia and also in New Zealand (Pacific Publication’s print division) [2]. David Kirk also worked for three years as the chief policy adviser for [New Zealand’s] Prime Minister Jim Bolger in the 1990s” [3] New Zealand is a nation that supplies a lot of its forest resources to North Skog. In April 2006 David Kirk then became the CEO John Fairfax Holdings Ltd [5], of one of Australia’s leading oligopoly newspaper proprietors. [5]. These companies in turn are major customers of Norske Skog [4]. Fairfax shares at least one former executive of its major rival, News Corporation. [7] and News Corporation has held a common financial stake in Fairfax. [6].
Perpetual investments, a major shareholder in Gunns Ltd, has a 3% stake in Fairfax. [8]...

Interesting that none of the information about the World Bank's Forest Investment Program was obtained through the Fairfax and Murdoch media outlets.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

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