| Brief Report
BWI-FES Regional Seminar on
Sustainable Sources of Raw Materials
13-14 September 2007, Kathmandu,
The Asian-Pacific region often receives
attention in the international debates about unsustainable use
of forestry products. The UN, the EU and environment-related internatioal
organizations have often brought the adverse consequences of the
illegal logging on workers and people's lives. But, the incentives
from this act to the government, corporations and businessmen
are so strong that this process go on unabated.
Global civil society and unions are
therefore formulating alternative strategies to stop the reckless
destruction of forest. Sustainable source of raw materials is
based on sound management proctices. The basic principle of
sustainable forestry is that the amount of goods and services
yielded from a forest should be at a level the forest is capable
of sustaining the soil quality, watershed features and seed
source for the sustainablity of future eco-system.
Depletion of forestry implies degradation
of ecosystems, clean water, cut of timber and undermining of
recreation, wildlife and other resources that human beings are
receiving from forests. Workers depending on these sources are
the most affected by the degradation of forest. Preservation
of forestry is also linked to securing the livelihood of rural
With these views into consideration
Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
(FES) organized two days regional seminars to formulate effective
strategies by the unions and action plans to achieve sustainable
forestry through effective trade unions.
The basic objectives of the regional seminar
a) Identify and discuss various modalities
of sustainable use of raw materials, and
b) Outline regional and national level action plans to promote
sustainable use of raw materials.
There were altogether 34 participants including
10 women across BWI Affiliates of various forestry sectors in
the Asia/Pacific Region.
The training utilized visual presentation,
lectures, group discussion and presentation of case studies
of various countries.
Bob Ramsay, Mohammad Khalid Atan, Apolinar
Z. Tolentino, Balan Nair, Anita Normark, R.C. Khuntia and Ambet
Major themes of discussion were: trade union
perspective on forest management, an end to unsustainable and
illegal logging, trade union response to outsourcing and privatization
in forestry and wood industries, union capacity requirement
for sustainable forestry management, and requirement of national
and regional actions. Concerted organizing campaigns on MNCs
were also raised. The case studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines and India were presented and discussed. The participants
also highlighted the need for the development of alternative
future to the benefit of workers.
Participants found that they have learned
a lot. They agreed to share information and experience and build
a strong solidarity among them for collective action. The seminar
dealt with issues and challenges in sustainable forestry management
as well as capacity requirement and adopted resolutions for
consideration of BWI First Regional Conference in Kathmandu
from September 15-16, 2007.
The resolution specifically includes
to expedite the functional aspect of forestry network as a platform
to launch campaign on the rights of migrant workers and their
families on ill-effects of outsourcing, to engage international
bodies on sustainable forest management with an objective to
increase the presence and participation of trade unions, seek
to increase the capacity of affiliates to become active and
effective members of BWI Global Wood and Forestry Network, to
create platform conducive for affiliates to work in close cooperation
with media and NGOs and to promote community-based forest management
by giving due respect to traditional system.
Additionally, union leaders agreed to
conduct workers education program, including Occupational Health
and Safety, vocational technical training skills development,
strong unionization of young people, muster support from media
and NGOs, create protection committees for migrant and vulnerable
workers and alternative employment using non-timber forest products
and forming micro-enterprise or cooperative units.