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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
H.E. Ramon J.P.Paje
Undersecretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Fifth Sessionof the United Nations Forum on Forests
New York, May 26, 2005

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. The Republic of the Philippines reaffirms its commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

2. Consistent with this commitment, Philippines supports the full implementation of sustainable forest management both in the national and international levels. This however should be coupled with effecive forest law enforcement and governance.

3. It is in this regard that the Philippines strongly supports the regional cooperation in Asia on forest law enforcement and governace. Mr. President, on behalf of our colleagues in Asia, Philippines wishes to report the successful meeting of Asia FLEG Task Force within the margins of UNFF 5.

4. With the vital support and cooperation of a number of countries in Asia, especially Indonesia, we have achieved significant milestone in this regional cooperation.

5. Given the common objective of eradicating illegal logging and associated illegal timber trade. Asia FLEG commits to strengthen regional enforcement cooperation, transparency and access to data.

6. As a follow up, Philippines agreed to host and chair the Asia FLEG meeting in September 2005. We invite all like-minded countries in the region to join the Asia FlEG initiative.

7. Mr. President, the Philippines is of the view that effective forest protection and management can be best achieved in the national and regional levels. We also believe that the success of sustainable forest mangement is significantly anchored on the reduction of poverty particularly in the uplands.

8. Because of abject poverty, the population in the uplands today, especially in Asia, has dramatically increased. In the Philippines, a quarter of its population or about 22 million people are already eking their livelihood in the forest zones.

9. Without effective forest management and governace, the wood requirement alone of the upland population is already enough to decimate the remaining forest cover of the country.

10. It is in this light, Mr President, that we call upon this Forum to strongly support regional cooperations and country programs on sustainable forest management. We should also document and disseminate best SFM practices in the spirit of the collaborative partnership on forests.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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