EU, Ivory Coast combat illegal logging

June 14, 2013 at 6:45 AM

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, June 14 (UPI) -- The European Union said it signed a voluntary partnership agreement with Ivory Coast to combat the problem of illegal logging.

The European Union reports Ivory Coast has around 10 million hectares of forested area. The country exports about 80 percent of its forestry products to European member states.

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said the agreement on illegal logging would ensure the viability of one of the EUs more important trading partners.

"Illegal logging continues to have a devastating impact on some of the world's most valuable forests, and the people who depend on them to live and to make a living," he said in a statement Thursday.

The EU said similar efforts to combat illegal logging in tropical countries like Ivory Coast helped preserve 17 million hectares of forested land.

The European Commission enacted new disclosure rules for the extractive industry and loggers this week. The legislation requires companies to report all payments to governments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis.

The EU said it finalized the partnership agreement during a ceremony in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast.

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