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Cablegate: Ibama Announces New, Tamper-Free Forest Product Monitoring

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RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBR #1791 2371243
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251243Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6482
INFO RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 2754
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 7872
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 5348
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS BRASILIA 001791

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO STATE SCASWELL AND JMCALPINE OES/ETC;
USFS LMAYHEW AND MZWEEDE;
USAID LAC/RSD EGAT;
FWS PETER THOMAS AND JILL BIRCHELL;
DOI KATHRYN WASHBURN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TBIO KSCA BR
SUBJECT: IBAMA ANNOUNCES NEW, TAMPER-FREE FOREST PRODUCT MONITORING
SYSTEM

REFTEL: BRASILIA 1651

1. Summary: Ibama (Brazilian Environmental Protection Agency)
officially published a normative instruction on August 23, creating
a new system of Forest Origin Documents (DOF) to track Brazilian
timber and timber derived products. The new system takes effect
September 1 and aims to combat illegal deforestation by enforcing
stricter control over the movement and storage of forest products.
DOFs will replace the highly contentious and notoriously corrupt
system of paper ATPFs (Forest Product Transport Authorizations) that
have been the backbone of at least 10 separate schemes to illegally
harvest and market illegal timber (reftel). End Summary

2. As of September 1 of this year a Forest Origin Document
(containing specific information about a product's origin, volume
and type) must accompany any forest product stored or transported in
Brazil. Among the myriad of products requiring documentation are
logs, sawed wood, piles, stakes, lumber, coal (derived from wood),
xaxim, hearts of palm and wood product residues. These DOFs will
replace Ibama's ATPFs, a monitoring system historically rife with
graft and corruption. In fact, Ibama in conjunction with Brazil's
Federal Police, have executed 10 sting operations over the past
three years to break up illegal logging rings. In each of these
cases, the lumber gangs utilized illicit ATPFs to circumvent
enforcement mechanisms and to illegally sell timber.

3. In order to avoid the ATPF pitfall, Ibama authorities have
centralized the new system and incorporated a number of features to
stamp out corruption. Unlike ATPFs, handwritten, processed and
distributed by individuals in Ibama offices, Ibama will generate and
enforce DOFs from centralized computer system. To obtain a DOF an
entrepreneur will access a website from where he/she can print off
the document. However, to access the system the individual or
entity must be enrolled in Brazil's Federal Technical Register after
proving that he/she has been a part of any environmental
crime/irregularity. Once in the system, the DOF is only emitted if
the product proves consistent with the holding's forest management
plan. Any product registered on the system must come from titled,
registered land containing a management plan for deforestation. As
Ibama is responsible for approving all management plans they are
also aware of the amount of wood that can be taken from any given
area. If data is inconsistent, the system will not emit the
document of origin. DOFs will also expire after substantially
shorter periods of time than ATPFs, which are valid for up to 90
days. Henceforth, a DOF for products transported in-state is valid
for 5 days, 10 days for interstate travel and a maximum of 30 days
for logs transported by barge. Finally, Ibama claims the document
will be far more difficult to forge.

4. Interestingly, backlash from loggers accustomed to
business-as-usual practices is already being felt in the field.
Ibama stopped issuing ATPFs some 40 days ago, although the DOF
system has yet to come online. Subsequently, the local manager of
Ibama's office in Santarem, in the state of Para, resigned today
bowing to pressure from the association of timber processing
industries, whose members have been unable to extract or transport
timber for over six weeks.

5. Comment: After nearly two years of waiting, the new system for
monitoring the movement of forest products is finally ready.
Patching up many of the holes that bred corruption with ATPFs, the
new DOFs appear, on paper, to have a legitimate chance of working.
For Ibama and the federal police the key issue now is implementation
and enforcement. Apprehending illegal forest products and actually
keeping them off the roads will remain Ibama and the Federal
Police's biggest challenge. End Comment

SOBEL

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