Influencing the development and implementation of practical and effective policies that reward responsible forestry and trade across the Asia Pacific region is central to RAFT’s work. This includes policies to regulate the production and trade of wood and paper products, as well as policies governing decisions about how land is allocated and used.
RAFT's policy work ranges from providing technical support to the development of national timber legality verification systems and regional guidelines for legal and sustainable timber, to demonstrating and developing tools to support more participatory and holistic spatial planning approaches, to facilitating learning exchanges and increased collaboration on responsible forestry and trade between some of the world's biggest timber trade players, such as China, Indonesia and the United States.
RAFT recognizes that policy can play a critical role in driving better practices on the forest and factory floors. In just 3 years timber legality requirements in Australia, the United States and the European Union have changed the game for wood products exporters in places like China and Vietnam. Similarly the introduction of Indonesia's timber legality assurance system, now a mandatory certification system for any timber products that leave the country, is helping responsible businesses access major markets, and putting pressure on others to move away from 'business as usual' logging if they want to stay in business.
Good policies however must also be supported by the skills and institutions required for effective implementation. This is why making the connection between policy and practice is a key pillar of RAFT's four-pronged approach.