Representatives of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain took part in a ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday to indicate their country’s support for the International Tropical Timber Agreement. The agreement was adopted in January 2006 to serve as a successor to a previous pact but will only enter into force once a certain proportion of major exporting and importing countries have ratified it. The pact aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to improve the management of forests in tropical countries by addressing illegal logging and deforestation while supporting the rehabilitation of degraded forests. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section of the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), welcomed the signature by Germany and the ratifications and said they would help bring the key agreement closer to its entry into force, perhaps as early as next year. 18 December 2009Eleven European countries have ratified a United Nations-backed agreement designed to promote the sustainable management of forests producing tropical timber and a diverse and legal international trade in such products.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A British warship will arrive off the Libyan coast in the next few days in an attempt to intercept and arrest people smugglers.HMS Diamond, a Type-45 destroyer equipped with missiles and a fast-firing cannon, will join EU flotilla, Operation Sophia, tasked with catching smugglers at sea.Formal authorisation for the mission was given by Brussels in June.The intervention comes as the flow of migrants trying to cross the Meditteranean for Italy reached record levels.Last week, smugglers sent record numbers of migrants to sea, with more than 13,000 people being picked up by rescue boats and the Italian coastguard.The plan to deploy HMS Diamond was met with disapproval by the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Crispin Blunt. He told the Observer: “The smugglers are taking advantage of the fact there is no coherent government in Libya.“Until there is a political settlement in Libya that encourages a Libyan government to accept assistance in its territorial waters, I fail to see how this can be effective.”HMS Diamond joins HMS Enterprise, which last week rescued 700 migrants off Libya, and more than a dozen EU vessels.