The EU and Honduras begin implementing their agreement to combat illegal logging at their first meeting

On 12 September 2022, the first meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee (CCA by its Spanish acronym) was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to start overseeing the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT).

During the meeting the EU and Honduras signed the first act of the Aide Memoire of the CCA. This marked the official start of the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement.

The first CCA meeting marked the official start of the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Honduras and the European Union. Source: Sebastiaan de Smedt, European Forest Institute

The CCA also agreed to prioritise actions that will yield concrete results in the short term. This includes the development and implementation of a robust traceability system for the transport of timber. With the help of technology it will be possible to address the falsification of transport documents. The CCA also agreed to accelerate the development and implementation of simplified procedures for the approval of forest management plans and the harvest of forest products.

The proceedings of the meeting are available publicly in the Aide Memoire (in Spanish).

The CCA oversees the VPA and is co-chaired by the National Institute for Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife and the European Union. The CCA includes the participation of various Government ministries and institutions, the private sector, including small forest owners, civil society organizations, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, and donor partners that support the implementation of the agreement.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

La UE y Honduras inician la implementación de un Acuerdo para combatir la tala ilegal

El 12 de septiembre de 2022 tuvo lugar en Tegucigalpa la reunión inicial del Comité Conjunto de Aplicación (CCA) para la implementación del Acuerdo Voluntario de Asociación (AVA) entre Honduras y la UE para la Aplicación de las Leyes, Gobernanza y Comercio Forestales (FLEGT por sus siglas en inglés).

Durante la reunión, la UE y Honduras firmaron la primera acta del memorando del CCA. Esta firma representa el inicio oficial de la implementación del AVA-FLEGT.

The first CCA meeting marked the official start of the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Honduras and the European Union
La primera reunión del CCA marcó el inicio oficial de la implementación del Acuerdo Voluntario de Asociación entre Honduras y la Unión Europea. Fuente: Sebastiaan de Smedt, European Forest Institute

El CCA acordó priorizar acciones con resultados concretos a corto plazo. Esto incluye el desarrollo e implementación de un sistema de trazabilidad para el transporte de madera. La ayuda de la tecnología permitirá hacer frente de manera eficaz a la falsificación de la documentación de transporte. El CCA también acordó acelerar el desarrollo e implementación de procedimientos simplificados para la aprobación de planes de manejo forestal y la recolección de productos forestales.

El acta de la reunión está disponible públicamente en el memorando.

El CCA supervisa el AVA-FLEGT y está copresidido por el Instituto Nacional de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal, Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre y la Unión Europea. Incluye además representantes de varios ministerios e instituciones gubernamentales, el sector privado, incluidos pequeños propietarios forestales, organizaciones de la sociedad civil, pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes y socios donantes que apoyan la implementación del Acuerdo.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

The Honduras-EU agreement to reduce illegal logging enters into force

The objective of the VPA is to provide a legally binding framework to ensure that all EU imports of timber products from Honduras covered by this agreement are sourced legally. The VPA also aims at improving community forest livelihoods, mitigating climate change impacts, and recognising the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

In the negotiation phase, different groups of interest were consulted, including the representatives of the government, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and afro-descendant peoples. The Honduras voluntary partnership agreement is the first-ever in which indigenous peoples have had their say, looking into issues such as land tenure and rights.

A sawmill in Honduras. Source: VPA Africa-Latin America Facility

Honduras will now start the implementation of the VPA, where the full and active involvement of all stakeholders will continue through the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC), the body overseeing the VPA. One of the first steps is setting up a timber legality assurance system to assess that timber products have been legally produced at all stages of the supply chain in accordance with national legislation.

More information:

Entra en vigor el acuerdo entre Honduras y la UE para reducir la tala ilegal

El objetivo del AVA es proporcionar un marco legalmente vinculante para garantizar que toda la madera y productos derivados de la misma, provenientes del país socio exportador, y cuyo destino es el mercado de la UE; cumple con la legislación del país de origen.

El AVA también tiene como objetivo mejorar los medios de vida de los bosques comunitarios, mitigar los impactos del cambio climático y reconocer el derecho al consentimiento libre, previo e informado.

En la fase de negociación se consultó a diferentes grupos de interés, incluidos los representantes del gobierno, la sociedad civil, el sector privado y los pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes. En este sentido, el AVA de Honduras es el primero en el que los pueblos indígenas han expresado su opinión, analizando temas como los derechos sobre la tenencia de la tierra.

A sawmill in Honduras
Aserradero en Honduras. Fuente: VPA Africa-Latin America Facility

Honduras comenzará ahora la implementación del AVA, donde la participación plena y activa de todas las partes interesadas continuará a través del Comité Conjunto de Aplicación (CCA), el organismo que supervisa el AVA. Uno de los primeros pasos es establecer el Sistema de Aseguramiento de la Legalidad de Honduras (SALH) para garantizar que los productos de madera se hayan producido legalmente en todas las etapas de la cadena de suministro, de conformidad con la legislación nacional.

Más información:

Latest assessment of the forest-timber sector in the Central African Republic published

The Government of the Central African Republic, in collaboration with the European Union, CIFOR-ICRAF and the VPA Africa – Latin-America Facility of the European Forest Institute, have published the report “State of the forest-timber sector in the Central African Republic 2021”. The report is available in French: “L’état du secteur forêt-bois dans la République centrafricaine 2021”.

The Central African Republic has about 23 million hectares of forest, covering almost 37% of its total area.

The Central African Republic (CAR) covers an area of ​​more than 62 million hectares and has about 23 million hectares of forest, covering almost 37% of its total area. The forest-wood sector represents an important source of income and employment, as well as 13% of the country’s export earnings.

Since 2011, a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) has been signed between the European Union (EU) and CAR on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). This Agreement aims to improve Central African forest governance and ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU are legal.

As part of the VPA, CAR and the EU have committed to implement measures to promote transparency on forest exploitation and management activities. Thus, the production and dissemination of forest data is a priority. The aim is for decision makers, development partners, researchers and the general public to have an exhaustive source of information on the Central African forest-wood sector. The previous version of the report was published in 2016.

Author: VPA Africa-Latin America Facility

Publication du dernier rapport sur l’état du secteur forêt-bois dans la République centrafricaine

Le Gouvernement de la République centrafricaine, en collaboration avec le CIFOR-ICRAF et la Facilité APV Afrique – Amérique-Latine de l’Institut européen de la forêt, viennent de publier le rapport « L’état du secteur forêt-bois dans la République centrafricaine (2021) ».

La République centrafricaine compte environ 23 millions d’hectares de forêts, soit presque 37 % de sa superficie totale.

La République centrafricaine (RCA) couvre une superficie de plus de 62 millions d’hectares et compte environ 23 millions d’hectares de forêts, soit presque 37 % de sa superficie totale. Le secteur forêt-bois représente une source importante de revenus et d’emploi, ainsi que 13% des recettes d’exportation du pays.

Depuis 2011, un Accord de Partenariat Volontaire (APV) a été signé entre l’Union européenne (UE) et la RCA sur l’application des réglementations forestières, la gouvernance et le commerce de bois et de produits dérivés du bois destinés au marché de l’UE (FLEGT). Cet Accord vise à améliorer la gouvernance forestière centrafricaine et à assurer que le bois et ses produits dérivés exportés vers l’UE sont légaux.

Dans le cadre de l’APV, l’UE et la République centrafricaine se sont engagées à mettre en œuvre des mesures pour favoriser la transparence sur les activités d’exploitation et de gestion forestière. Ainsi, la production et la divulgation des données forestières sont une priorité. Le but est que les décideurs, les partenaires au développement, les chercheurs et le grand public disposent d’une source d’informations exhaustive sur le secteur forêt-bois centrafricain. La version préalable du rapport date de 2016.

Author: VPA Africa-Latin America Facility

The EU and Côte d’Ivoire agree on the principles for the signature of a sustainable timber trade agreement

The sixth and final formal negotiation session of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the EU and Côte d’Ivoire on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) was held on 1 June 2022. The FLEGT VPA aims to ensure the legality and traceability of timber exported from Côte d’Ivoire to the EU to improve the sustainability of the timber sector.

Source: Marc Vandenhaute, EFI

During the session, the two parties agreed on the principles for the signature of the Agreement and celebrated an important step in their cooperation on the sustainable management of Ivorian forest resources. The FLEGT VPA will contribute to improve forest governance, fight illegal logging and promote legal timber trade between Côte d’Ivoire and the European Union (EU). In addition, for the first time, gender equality is explicitly included in a FLEGT VPA, in line with Côte d’Ivoire’s and the EU’s commitments to integrate women in natural resources management.

“Having lost 90% of its forest cover over the past 60 years, Côte d’Ivoire has undertaken several reforms with a view to stop deforestation, preserve remaining forests and restore forest cover to 20% of the territory. Through the FLEGT VPA, particular emphasis is placed on forest governance and the fight against illegal logging”, said General Conservator Zouzou Epse Mailly Elvire Joëlle, Chief Negotiator of Côte d’Ivoire.

Chantal Marijnissen, European Chief Negotiator, said at the closing of the session that “Côte d’Ivoire and the EU are celebrating an important milestone in their cooperation against illegal logging. We must now focus on the preparation for the implementation of the VPA to achieve its social, environmental and economic objectives within a reasonable timeframe. The EU will continue to support Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts in this regard”.


Read the joint communication (in French):

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Les voix des femmes s’élèvent dans le secteur forestier ivoirien

La Facilité Afrique-Amérique latine de l’Institut européen de la forêt publie un article qui décrit la situation des femmes dans le secteur forestier ivoirien, ainsi que le renforcement de leur rôle dans les négociations d’un Accord de Partenariat Volontaire (APV) FLEGT entre la Côte d’Ivoire et l’UE. Ces négociations sont en train de reconduire la gestion des forêts ivoiriennes.

Dialogue with Ivorian women
Dialogue avec un groupe de femmes ivoiriennes. Source: Rodrigue Ngonzo, EU-F4F/Particip

Depuis 2018, la Côte d’Ivoire s’est engagée à prendre des mesures pour intégrer les femmes de manière effective dans la gestion des ressources forestières du pays.

Cette plus grande prise en compte du genre est également manifeste dans les négociations d’un APV sur l’Application des réglementations forestières, la gouvernance et les échanges commerciaux (ou FLEGT, acronyme anglais) avec l’Union européenne (UE). Cet Accord vise à améliorer la gouvernance forestière ivoirienne et à assurer que le bois et ses produits dérivés exportés vers l’UE sont légaux.

Plusieurs femmes représentant le secteur civil ivoirien, l’administration publique et l’UE ont partagé leurs points de vue sur les avancées réalisées jusqu’à présent en matière d’intégration du genre dans les négociations de l’APV, ainsi que sur les défis à surmonter pour atteindre l’égalité des sexes.

Ahoussi Delphine, présidente de MALEBI, une association de femmes rurales ivoiriennes, souligne que « si on parle de développement durable, on ne peut pas laisser les femmes en dehors des décisions qui concernent la gestion des forêts. C’est simple : si on veut y réussir, on a besoin des femmes. »

Pour Chantal Marijnissen, négociatrice en chef de l’APV pour l’UE, « les négociations de l’Accord doivent contribuer à la reconnaissance du droit des femmes à jouer un rôle dans la gouvernance forestière, et à être incluses dans le partage des bénéfices économiques obtenus des forêts ».

Lire l’article : Les femmes ivoiriennes réclament leur place dans le secteur forestier

En savoir plus :

EU-Côte d’Ivoire FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Women voices raise in the Ivorian forest sector

The VPA Africa-Latin America Facility of the European Forest Institute has released a story describing the situation of women in the Ivorian forest sector, and the reinforcement of their role in the negotiation of the EU-Côte d’Ivoire FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The Agreement is reshaping the way forests are managed in Côte d’Ivoire.

Dialogue with Ivorian women
Dialogue with Ivorian women. Source: Rodrigue Ngonzo, EU-F4F/Particip

Since 2018, Côte d’Ivoire has committed to taking measures to effectively integrate women into the management of the country’s forest resources.

This greater consideration of gender is also reflected in the negotiations of a FLEGT VPA with the European Union. The Agreement aims to improve Ivorian forest governance and ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU are legal.

Several women representing the Ivorian civil sector and the public administration, as well as the European Union, have shared their views about the gender developments achieved in the negotiation of the VPA, and the challenges yet to overcome to achieve gender equality.

Ahoussi Delphine, president of MALEBI, an association of Ivorian rural women, highlighted that “if we talk about sustainable development, we cannot leave women out of decisions that affect forest management. It’s simple: if we want to succeed, we need women to be on board”.

For Chantal Marijnissen, chief VPA negotiator for the European Commission, “the negotiations of the Agreement must contribute to the recognition of women’s right to play a role in forest governance, and to be included in the sharing of economic benefits derived from forests”.

More information:

EU-Côte d’Ivoire FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Field tests in support to the EU-Côte d’Ivoire VPA-FLEGT negotiations

Negotiations of a FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Côte d’Ivoire and the European Union (EU) are advancing at a good pace and scheduled to conclude in April 2022. This Agreement aims to improve Ivorian forest governance and ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU are legal. In this context, field tests have been carried out to assess certain key VPA elements and to suggest improvements.

Ivorian forestry officers controlling timber harvested in a forest concession. Source: Marc Vandenhaute, EFI/VPA ALA Facility
Ivorian forestry officers controlling timber harvested in a forest concession. Source: Marc Vandenhaute, EFI/VPA ALA Facility

To ensure the legality of timber and timber products exported to the EU, the VPA defines this legality. The legality definition identifies the economic, environmental and social regulatory requirements to be respected by operators and authorities involved in the timber sector.

Before negotiations conclude, stakeholders are assessing the suitability of the legality definition on the ground. In February, a team consisting of representatives of the various stakeholders involved in the negotiations and an international consultant conducted a series of field tests.

The team visited several wood processing units to check that the legal conditions related to workers’ rights were applicable at all stages of the supply chain.

The team also discussed with forestry administrations and local communities to what extent the legal requirements recently adopted to implement the Ivorian Forest Code are being applied on the ground, and whether any difficulties were encountered.

The test report, expected by the end of February, will identify areas for improvement. It will also include recommendations, enabling stakeholders to negotiate an Agreement that is more realistic, applicable and adapted to the Ivorian reality.

Author: FLEGT.org Info