The Australian Government works with governments across the globe to support Australia's domestic forestry interests, promote sustainable forest management, combat illegal logging and its associated trade, and advance Australia’s trade and market access interests. their standards of forest management and combat illegal logging while also supporting the trade in legally harvested timber and timber products.
Our department in particular collaborates with Australia's regional neighbours and key trading partners to shape and manage key forestry matters through bilateral relationships and multilateral fora.
Australia and Papua New Guinea signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2014. The aim of the memorandum of understanding was to encourage greater cooperation in relation to:
- promoting an understanding of each Partner’s national forestry policy and legislative frameworks
- promoting trade in legal timber and timber products
- promoting the sustainable management of forests
- promoting effective governance in forest industries
- promoting investment in forest industries
- identifying opportunities for collaboration on forest research, training and secondment activities
- identifying areas for cooperation on forestry issues through multilateral forestry fora.
Australia – Papua New Guinea forestry cooperation bilateral meetings are held approximately every 12-18 months alternately in Australia and PNG. Respective governments are currently considering a new memorandum of understanding to serve as the basis for future cooperative efforts and exchange.
Australia and Indonesia have shared cooperation on forestry matters since the establishment of the Australia-Indonesia Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation (WGAFFC) in 2007.
In January 2022, the WGAFFC was superseded following the signing of a new Agriculture Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding by the Agriculture Ministers from Indonesia and Australia, and no longer extends to forestry matters.
The department is working to establish a new formal Australia-Indonesia bilateral arrangement to continue forestry cooperation between our nations. This includes key forestry matters such as trade, regional engagement, combatting illegal logging and its associated trade, and broader sustainable forest management.
Bilateral forestry meetings with Indonesia are typically held annually, alternately in Australia and Indonesia.
The Malaysia-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Working Group (MAACWG) met in Putra Jaya, Malaysia in August 2007, and agreed to expand the role of the working group to include forestry matters.
Under the MAACWG, the Forestry and Timber Sub-Working Group has been established to cooperate on activities in support of sustainable forest management, including:
- recognising the need to address illegal logging and promote further action on this matter through multilateral processes
- exploring cooperation in forest management certification and chain of custody schemes
- identifying and exploring areas of collaboration and cooperation on the international stage that both countries are engaged.
The MAACWG meetings are held approximately every two years, alternately in Australia and Malaysia.
In 1997, the then Department of Primary Industries and Energy (now the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) and the Korean Forestry Administration (now the Korea Forest Service) signed an arrangement which establishes the Korea-Australia Forestry Cooperative Committee (KAFCC).
The KAFCC is an effective medium for developing closer cooperation between Australia and the Republic of Korea on forestry matters such as research, investment and trade and focuses on the key areas of:
- information on investment opportunities in Australian plantations and export opportunities for Australian forest products to Korea
- developing an understanding of the requirements for countries seeking to achieve forest certification
- arranging an exchange of forestry professionals between Korea and Australia.
The KAFCC meets approximately every two years, alternately in Australia and Korea.
The Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) promotes cooperation on forestry matters and enhancing trade opportunities between the two countries. ACACA was signed in 1984 to:
- enhance cooperation in a wide range of agricultural sectors
- develop agricultural trading relationships
- provide a forum for the exchange of scientific information.
Australia and China meet under the agreement to discuss forestry matters supported by the Joint Working Group on Forestry (JWGF) that was established in 1988.
To complement this agreement and to guide cooperation between Australia and China on forestry matters, the Australian and Chinese Governments signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009 concerning cooperation in forestry and combating illegal logging and associated trade. The memorandum of understanding provides a framework to support Australian and Chinese cooperation in the following areas:
- enhancing global and regional efforts to combat illegal logging and associated trade
- promoting sustainable forest management
- facilitating a mutual understanding in the Asia-Pacific region of the requirements for legality verification of internationally traded timber
- encouraging trade in timber and wood products from legally harvested and sustainable managed forests
- enhancing forest law enforcement and governance, and sharing information on forest certification schemes
- building capacity of forest management professionals and experts in the Asia-Pacific region to implement sustainable forest management practices in the region including preventing illegal logging.
The Illegal Logging Working Group (ILWG) exists under the JWGF to conduct the objectives of the memorandum of understanding. The group had its first meeting immediately following the JWGF meeting on 1 September 2010 and now meets in conjunction with the JWGF meetings.
JWGF generally meet every three years, alternately in Australia and China.
Australia and New Zealand continue to strengthen their long-standing cooperation on forestry matters.
In 2012, Australia and New Zealand signed a formal bilateral Arrangement on Combating Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management. Since it’s expiry in 2015, Australia and New Zealand have continued to share an ongoing commitment to collaborate in combatting illegal logging and promoting sustainable forest management, including:
- ongoing bilateral cooperation against the illegal logging trade of timber and its impact on jobs, economies, and the environment
- building capacity of government and industry to manage forests sustainably and promote systems to verify the legality of timber and wood products in Australia, New Zealand, and the wider Asia Pacific region.
Australia and New Zealand meet formally on an ‘as needs’ basis, often in the margins of larger multilateral meetings.
Australia and the United States have established regular bilateral engagement on forests matters, including:
- sharing information to combat illegal logging and associated trade under respective legal frameworks
- cooperating to strengthen respective timber legality frameworks
- supporting global forests initiatives
- promoting the sustainable use of timber
- collaborating in multilateral forests fora
- sharing information on domestic forestry initiatives and developments.
Australia and the United States typically hold in-person bilateral forestry discussions in the US following on from annual UN Forum on Forests sessions, which take place in New York, as well as engaging elsewhere as needed.