Tag Archive for: eu flegt action plan

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

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

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

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

Evidence of VPA impacts: findings from Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia

A study conducted in Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia, three countries at different stages of implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), signed within the framework of the EU’s Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, showed that the VPA process contributed to significant improvements in various dimensions assessed.

Source: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

Supported by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) conducted a study to gather evidence of the contribution of the VPA FLEGT process to four thematic areas:

  1. Sustainable forest management and forest conditions;
  2. Relation and development of the formal and informal forest sector;
  3. Jobs and employment;
  4. Governance, law enforcement and compliance.

Overall, the findings showed progress on many VPA-related targets, and that for most of the observed changes, VPA contribution is generally positive.

The most significant reported contributions of the VPA were found in the areas of Sustainable forest management and forest conditions, and Governance, law enforcement and compliance.

The full article with further details is available on the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme website

Other links

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Evaluation of EU rules on illegal logging: public feedback opportunity

The European Commission has invited public feedback on EU action to tackle illegal logging – the harvesting of wood in contravention of the laws and regulations.

The public consultation on FLEGT and the EUTR is open until 28 February. Source: Robertus Pudyanto, EU FLEGT Facility

The EU has two key legal acts to fight illegal logging:

  • Forest law enforcement, governance and trade regulation (FLEGT) and
  • the EU timber regulation (EUTR).

This “fitness check” will according to the Commission examine the “effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of both regulations in contributing to the fight against illegal logging globally. It will also include the implementing regulations of both instruments as well as the delegated regulation on Monitoring Organisations and will cover all Member States and relevant third countries.”

The evaluation will help assess whether the instruments are fit for purpose or need to be revised. It will also address the coherence between the regulations and “provide a very valuable input for the assessment of potential additional demand side measures.”

The review will cover the whole period since the instruments entered into force, with the focus on the implementation during the last three years, “given that in 2016 evaluations of the EUTR and of the FLEGT Action Plan were published. Furthermore, the FLEGT licensing scheme became operational in 2016.” 

The evaluation findings “will be considered in the assessment of demand-side measures for other commodities associated with deforestation.”

Opportunity for feedback is open until 28 February

Author: FLEGT.org Info