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Sustainable Forestry

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2007

We are committing over £70 million for sustainable forestry in Africa, including £50 million for the Congo basin forest, to help improve governance, reduce deforestation and safeguard the livelihoods of poor people.

Does the Minister accept that although biofuels can help to combat climate change, unless they are introduced in a planned and sustainable way, natural habitat and forestry will be destroyed? What analysis has he made of the problem, and what steps will he take to resolve them?

I share my hon. Friend’s view that biofuels have an important contribution to make in tackling the impacts of climate change. He is right to say that the increase in interest in biofuels needs to be managed in a sustainable way. We are working with a range of partners, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, to look at exactly this issue.

The Chinese are almost raping the forests in Gabon. What representation have this Government and the EU made to the Chinese authorities about the way in which they are abusing their mineral and forestry rights in Gabon?

My hon. Friend may not know, but we have been working closely through the European Union with a number of countries, including China, to address how we can improve governance of forests and conservation and reduce the rate of deforestation. UK representatives attended a conference at Beijing to look at exactly this issue, and to see how we can develop that relationship with the Chinese still further.