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: EU FLEGT Facility

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: EU FLEGT Facility

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: EU FLEGT Facility

Tests de terrain en appui aux négociations de l’APV-FLEGT entre l’UE et la Côte d’Ivoire

Les négociations de l’Accord de Partenariat Volontaire (APV) FLEGT (Application des réglementations forestières, gouvernance et échanges commerciaux) entre la Côte d’Ivoire et l’Union européenne (UE) avancent à bon rythme et se rapprochent de leur conclusion, prévue en avril 2022. 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. Dans ce cadre, des tests de terrain ont été réalisés afin de soumettre à examen certains éléments clés de l’APV et proposer d’éventuelles améliorations.

Des agents forestiers ivoiriens contrôlent le bois récolté dans une concession forestière. Source: Marc Vandenhaute, EFI/VPA ALA Facility

Pour assurer la légalité du bois et ses produits dérivés exportés vers l’UE, l’APV inclut une définition de la légalité. Cette définition identifie les exigences réglementaires en matière économique, environnementale et sociale à respecter par les opérateurs et autorités intervenants dans la filière forêt-bois.

Avant la conclusion des négociations, les parties prenantes doivent soumettre à examen la définition de la légalité. Pour cela, durant le mois de février, une équipe composée de représentants des différentes parties prenantes dans les négociations et d’un consultant international a réalisé une série de tests de terrain.

L’équipe a visité plusieurs unités de transformation du bois pour vérifier que les conditions légales liées aux droits des travailleurs étaient effectivement appliquées aux différentes étapes de la chaine d’approvisionnement.

L’équipe a aussi eu l’occasion d’échanger avec les administrations forestières et les communautés locales. Un des points clés a été d’évaluer dans quelle mesure les dispositions légales récemment adoptées pour l’application du Code Forestier ivoirien sont déjà reflétées dans les pratiques sur le terrain, ainsi que les éventuelles difficultés rencontrées.

Le rapport des tests, qui est attendu pour la fin du mois de février, identifiera les lacunes et les possibilités d’amélioration. Il inclura également des recommandations qui permettront aux parties prenantes de négocier un Accord plus réaliste, applicable et adapté à la réalité ivoirienne.

Author: EU FLEGT Facility

La Unión Europea y Honduras acuerdan combatir la tala ilegal y promover el comercio de madera legal

Honduras y la Unión Europea (UE) firman un acuerdo sobre la aplicación de leyes, gobernanza y comercio forestales. El acuerdo garantizará que toda la madera y productos derivados hondureños importados a la UE tengan un origen legal y dispongan de autorización.

Jutta Urpilainen (UE) y Roberto Ochoa Madrid (Honduras) firmando el AVA. Fuente: Comisión Europea

El acuerdo voluntario de asociación (AVA) fue firmado el 23 de febrero por el embajador de Portugal, Nuno Brito, la comisaria europea de Asociaciones Internacionales, Jutta Urpilainen, y el embajador de Honduras, Roberto Ochoa Madrid. Entrará en vigor cuando ambas partes lo hayan ratificado de acuerdo con sus procedimientos internos.

Honduras es el primer país latinoamericano en firmar un acuerdo voluntario de asociación con la UE en el marco del Plan de Acción para la Aplicación de Leyes, Gobernanza y Comercio Forestales (FLEGT, por sus siglas en inglés).

Según establece el acuerdo, Honduras pondrá en marcha mecanismos sólidos para garantizar que la madera producida en el país se obtenga legalmente. De este modo, se creará un sistema de seguimiento de la legalidad que permita evaluar la producción de madera en Honduras con criterios similares a los establecidos en el Reglamento de la madera de la UE.

Este proceso favorece las metas comerciales y de desarrollo sostenible de la UE y contribuirá al objetivo más amplio de reducir la tala ilegal.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

EU and Honduras agree deal to combat illegal logging, promote trade in legal timber

Honduras and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products. The agreement will ensure that all Honduran timber and timber products imported in the EU are legally sourced and licensed.

Authorities from the European Commission (left) and Honduras (right) signing the Honduras-EU VPA. Source: European Commission

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) was signed on 23 February by the Portuguese Ambassador Nuno Brito, European Commissioner for international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and the Ambassador of Honduras Roberto Ochoa Madrid. It will enter into force after each Party has ratified it in line with their internal procedures.

Honduras is the first Latin American country to sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU under the Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).

As per the agreement, Honduras will develop robust mechanisms to ensure locally produced timber is legally obtained. A timber legality assurance system will be set up to assess Honduran timber logging with requirements similar to the ones set in the EU Timber Regulation.

This process enhances the EU’s sustainable development and trade goals and will contribute to the broader objective of reducing illegal logging.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

COVID-19 takes a heavy toll on Myanmar’s wood-based micro and small businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacting a devastating toll on wood-based micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Furniture workshop’s owner in Thaketa Township, Myanmar. Source: Agus Djailani, EU FLEGT Facility

MSMEs are the backbone of Myanmar’s economy. They constitute 99% of formally registered enterprises, and generate significant livelihood and employment opportunities. But the pandemic has had severe impacts on customer demand, revenue, finances, workers and the availability and distribution of raw materials. Myanmar’s MSMEs also face difficulties accessing support from COVID-19 relief programmes.

These are the findings of a survey of some 200 MSMEs conducted by the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Sagawa Institute of Organization Development. Members of the Myanmar Arts and Craft Association and the Wood-Based Furniture Association were surveyed as part of EFI’s Sida-funded work in support of forest- and timber-based MSMEs in the Mekong region.

The MSMEs were surveyed nationwide in August 2020, most of these micro and small businesses. The survey found that COVID-19 had forced most enterprises to stop or permanently close their business. A staggering 33.6% of respondents closed their operations permanently due to the crisis, while 65.2% stopped them temporarily.

As a way forward, an EFI briefing recommends that industry associations collaborate with the Government to ease the challenges that MSMEs face in distributing products and purchasing raw materials from official sources. The associations should also assist their members by providing documents and sharing information to help them access short- and long-term financial loans. Finally, associations have an important role to play in supporting business registration and licensing of informal enterprises to enable them to access COVID-19 relief programmes.

Read the briefing: COVID-19 impacts on wood-based MSMEs in Myanmar

Author: FLEGT.org Info

EU rules on illegal logging and deforestation impact of EU market products: Have your say

The European Commission has launched public consultations on the functioning of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, and the deforestation impact of products placed on the EU market.

Two key EU regulations to fight illegal logging, the Forest law enforcement, governance and trade regulation (FLEGT) and the EU timber regulation (EUTR), will be evaluated. According to the Commission, the EUTR and FLEGT Regulation “fitness check” will “look at the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of both regulations in contributing to the fight against illegal logging.” As the regulations are closely related, the Commission is carrying out a common evaluation to assess whether they are fit for purpose.

Opportunity for feedback is open until 26 November 2020.

The Deforestation and Forest Products Impact Assessment will contribute to an impact assessment investigating the suitability of “different demand-side measures to address deforestation and forest degradation associated with EU consumption”. The consultation will gather stakeholder opinions on potential additional measures to reduce the impact of products placed on the EU market.

Opportunity for feedback is open until 10 December 2020. 

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Supporting forest- and timber-based MSMEs in the Mekong region to operate legally and sustainably

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are a vehicle for development and generate almost half of jobs in the formal forest sector globally. They are key to local economies, generating significant livelihood and employment opportunities. Yet the recent economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of MSMEs to sudden market developments.

Family-run workshop in a pilot MSME in Lamphun, Thailand. Source: EU FLEGT Facility

A new brief describes the approach adopted by the European Forest Institute (EFI) over the last five years to support forest- and timber-based MSMEs in the Mekong region to operate legally and sustainably.  The publication highlights the challenges and solutions tested, and lessons learnt from EFI’s interventions.

If MSMEs are encouraged to adopt legal and sustainable sourcing and processing practices, they can be part of the solution to reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

Growing their capacities, business performance and access to legal timber will allow these enterprises to participate in supply chains destined for regulated markets. This would in turn make them more resilient as businesses, with the potential to alleviate rural poverty and reduce impacts from crises such as COVID-19.

To this end, EFI has explored approaches that help forest- and timber-based MSMEs in the Mekong region to operate legally and sustainably. In six pilot projects in four countries – Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam –  EFI tested solutions to some of the key challenges that MSMEs face: low productivity and operational capacity, lack of formal registration and operating licences, and poor representation in policy processes.

This work, supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, shows that specialised trainings can improve MSME’s operational capacity and regulatory compliance. The potential for FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes to trigger and accommodate legal reforms in support of MSMEs is also highlighted.

EFI’s pilots demonstrate the importance of regulatory revisions for resolving key challenges to MSMEs, and the need for interventions targeting these enterprises to integrate business continuity planning. Crucially, supporting MSMEs to access finance is critical to support them to rebuild after COVID-19, and to operate legally and sustainably. 

Read the briefing:

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Trees give small farmers in Thailand access to loans

The EU FLEGT Facility has published a story describing how farmers in Thailand are starting to reap the benefits from international timber trade talks between Thailand and the European Union.

Mongkol Wandee measures a tree. Source: Somporn Khongthanakrittakorn, EU FLEGT Facility

Until recently, forest laws put limitations on farmers around the harvesting and transportation of certain tree species. Organisations such as the Private Forest Plantation Cooperative Limited – a cooperative of tree growing farmers and private land owners – used the trade talks to push for amendments to forest laws to improve the situation for farmers. 

In 2019, the Thai Government changed regulations regarding the use of trees on private land. Farmers can now legally harvest all trees on their land and get additional income from them without burdensome paperwork and/or field inspections.

Read the story on how this is impacting one farmer and his family in Thailand.

Author: EU FLEGT Facility