Indufor started implementing the SAARC Area Cross-border Timber Trade Study, Including Regional Institutional Mechanisms and Trade Links with Myanmar. The 12-month project is financed by the EU FLEGT Facility, which is hosted by the European Forest Institute (EFI). The main objective of the project is to provide a thorough understanding of the forest product flows and trade, forestry issues in SAARC region, and the SAARC region’s timber trade links with Myanmar.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization of South Asian nations aiming at a broad cooperation in the region. Member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Myanmar was granted an observer status in SAARC in 2008. The focus countries of this project are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The SAARC countries are not major timber producing countries and the timber trade has not been a focal sector under the SAARC areas of cooperation. However conservation and protection of the environment, and climate change in particular, are on the agenda of cooperation, and the creation of the SAARC Forestry Centre in Bhutan constitutes a point of entry for cooperation with SAARC on forest governance. It is in this context that this study on cross-border timber trade flows and on existing regional mechanisms is carried out.
Project activities include collation of information on timber trade flows within the SAARC region and Myanmar, analysis of intra-regional timber trade patterns, and identifying opportunities and challenges. Findings and recommendations will inform work in South Asia on strengthening forest law enforcement, governance and trade.
The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2015.