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APEC Releases Report on Sustainable Biofuel Development

9 December 2010: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has announced the publication of the report “Sustainable Biofuel Development Policies, Programs, and Practices in APEC Economies.”

The report presents current policies, programmes, and practices in APEC economies that aim to ensure that biofuels are sustainable. It covers sustainable biofuel planning and research, regulatory and policy initiatives, voluntary programmes and initiatives, and monitoring for sustainability. Among other issues, the report notes that biofuel feedstock growth can increase biodiversity in areas where degraded lands are brought into production, although the environments in which feedstocks tend to grow best are often areas of high biodiversity because they have climates and soils that are conducive to plant growth, particularly in tropical areas. The report further underlines that promoting biofuels can place these habitats at risk of conversion if appropriate cautionary measures are not in place. It also stresses that: mono-cropping represents a further threat to biodiversity through the reduction in agricultural biodiversity; and although assessments have taken place on potential land-use change and biodiversity issues, the frameworks for sustained data collection and analysis have yet to be developed.

The report concludes with the recommendation to: collaborate on sustainable biofuels activities and share lessons learned; promote all areas of sustainability simultaneously, rather than look at a select few elements of sustainability; and incorporate more performance-based approaches to monitoring compliance with, and impacts of, sustainable biofuel policies, programmes, and practices to ensure that their intended outcomes are realized and negative unintended consequences are addressed. [APEC Press Release] [The Report]