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Weekly NewsLetter
7 Febuary 2011
    Vol.1 No.3

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The Editor's Corner


Asia leads forest renewal
          The latest report on the world’s forests by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, “State of the World’s Forest” shows a dramatic increase in reforestation efforts in Asia. Traditionally Europe usually has been the region with the greatest increase.

During the decade 1990-2000 there was a net loss of forest in Asia. Since then, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and India have all increased the size of their forests.

China has increased its forests by “3 million hectares (30,000 sq km) per year - no country has ever done anything like this before, it's an enormous contribution,” Eduardo Rojas-Briales, assistant director-general of the FAO's forestry department said.

The report noted that forest loss across the world has slowed, largely due to a switch from felling to planting in Asia.

Vietnam drew praise for implementing a smart and comprehensive forest reform plan. India has seen a modest growth in its forests as has the Philippines.

However, in the Greater Mekong Subregion, deforestation has continued along the banks of the river with forests there now covering less than 10 percent of their previous range. Forests now cover about 40 million square kilometers, just less than one-third of the earth's land surface.

The report also concludes that in the Asia-Pacific region, the area of forest designated for production has decreased since 2000, with an increase in lands set aside for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Forests continue to decline in Africa and Latin America with trees being used for cooking food and firewood.

The FAO is urging exploration ways of generating income from forests that do not depend on chopping trees down.

The report gave particular attention to old-growth forests as they continue to disappear in some parts of the world, Conservation International is one of several environment groups pressing for increased attention on these areas and their special importance for nature.

"Forests must be seen as more than just a group of trees," said Olivier Langrand, the organisation's head of international policy.


Top News from Southeast Asia

February 5, 2011


These were the most important news stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of January 29-February 4:

Suu Kyi appeals for investment, support
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for investment in her country, which she says has been "left behind".

Chi-East rolls out in Japan, HK, S'pore 
Chi-East, the "dark pool" joint venture between Singapore Exchange and Nomura's Chi-X, said on Monday it has completed the roll-out of its trading platform for securities listed in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

Thai government predicts 4.5 percent growth 
Thailand's economy should grow by 4.5 percent this year in the face of external challenges, mainly related to concerns about debt problems in other countries, according to the government'sFiscal Policy Office (FPO).

European solar company eyes Philippines 
Amsterdam-based SunConnex plans to invest in solar power projects across the Philippines.

Malaysia: high-income nation 
Malaysia's upcoming Financial Sector Masterplan (FSM) will revolve around transforming the country into a high-income nation, strengthening its position in Islamic finance and managing and retaining the talent pool.

Construction of high-speed Laos railway starts 
The Lao government wants to start construction work on a 481-kilometer, high-speed railway linking Laos to China and Thailand in April.

Philippine economy on fastest pace in 24 years 
The Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace in 2010 since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, expanding 7.3 percent due to strong domestic demand fueled by the billions of dollars overseas Filipino workers sent home.

Asean studies efficient energy investment  
A benchmarking study on energy efficiency investments among countries in the Southeast Asian region will kick off in the Philippines in February.

Asean exchanges study trading link 
Four Asean exchanges, working together with NYSE Technologies, have completed the design study of the technology framework for the Asean Trading Link.

Asean economies may overheat 
Fast-growing Asian economies face a risk of overheating and may need to tighten monetary policy further, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

China biggest deficit creator to Indonesia  
China is the biggest trade deficit creator in Indonesia's trade balance compared to any other country, reaching US$5.6 billion (Rp 50.5 trillion) throughout 2010, a top official at the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) says.

Sugar giant invests in renewable projects 
Mitr Phol, Asia's largest sugar producer, will invest 3.7 billion baht (US $123 million) in its new renewable energy projects in Thailand and expand the group's power business to neighbouring countries, starting with a biomass plant in China.

U.S. continues pressure on Myanmar 
The United States said Wednesday it was premature to ease sanctions on Myanmar and urged the regime to take more steps following the recent elections.

Total Malaysian trade in 2010 topped US$38.6 billion 
Malaysia's total trade in 2010 surpassed the RM1 trillion mark to register RM1.169 trillion (US$38.6 billion), attributed to an impressive growth last year, that boosted demand for both manufactured goods and commodities globally.

Manila slips in global outsourcing ranking 
THE Philippines' ranking as a preferred location for business process outsourcing (BPO) and call-center operations fell a notch mostly because of lack of skilled people, according to a survey of multinational companies.

Thai firm plans wind energy project 
Glow Energy Plc, a unit of France-based GDF Suez listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is ready to spend US$300 million to develop two wind turbine projects in Chaiyaphum generating a combined 100 megawatts.

Fight against graft in Indonesia 
The guilty verdict for former tax director Bahasyim Assifie has set a new precedent in the country's justice system because for the first time judges applied the legal principle of reverse burden of proof, analysts said on Thursday.


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