Tag Archive for: timber legality assurance

Guyana and EU join forces to meet highest international standards on export of legal timber

On 27 October 2022, representatives of Guyana and the European Union convened at a Pre-Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (Pre-JMRC) meeting, to review progress of the implementation of the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The Agreement will help improve forest governance and sustainable forestry and verify the trade in legal timber.

During the meeting, the Parties indicated they will endeavour to sign the Agreement before the end of 2022. The VPA will raise industry standards and living conditions of the sector. After Guyana and the EU sign and ratify the VPA, its commitments will become legally binding.

Representatives of Guyana and the EU at the Pre-Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (Pre-JMRC) meeting to review progress of the implementation of the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Source: EFI

According to René Van Nes, Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, “the VPA spearheads Guyana as a global pioneer of sustainable forest management”.

The signature and subsequent ratification will mark the end of a 10-year negotiation process. Guyana will thereupon join a selected group of African, American and Asian countries committed to the protection of their forests. Guyana will become the first VPA country in the Amazon region, and the second in the Americas, after Honduras; making it a frontrunner in sustainable forest management, adhering to the highest international standards.

The Honorable Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Vickram Bharat, stated that “the Pre-JMRC meetings continue to highlight Guyana’s continued commitment to the VPA process and the broader initiatives to improve forest governance. He further stated that the VPA and the agreements reached are all part of the Government’s commitment under the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 aimed at promoting a green economy”.

The Parties agreed to focus their efforts on the further development and implementation of strengthened operational procedures for the sector, and a robust paper-based and digital traceability system of logs and timber that meets the VPA’s requirements. To ensure these priorities will be met in time, Guyana and the EU agreed on a detailed work plan.

The Parties also discussed how they will continue to engage with national and international stakeholders interested in VPA implementation. They committed to putting in place a range of tools to ensure that interested audiences can follow the developments and impacts of VPA implementation.

Representatives of the private sector and civil society, including indigenous peoples’ organisations, presented the issues they would like to bring to the table. Guyana and the EU also discussed next steps in the development of an approach to protect the traditional rights of Amerindian peoples.

Through the VPA’s implementation, Guyana will further strengthen the sustainable use of its forest resources, reduce illegal timber trade and better modernise timber operations, thereby ensuring that forestry brings green jobs in the formal economy. The VPA also includes commitments to improve transparency, accountability, legislative clarity and other aspects of governance.

Good governance of Guyana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps both Guyana and the EU contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including by mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.

The next meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Review Committee is scheduled to take place in May 2023.

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.

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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.

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Recognising Indonesian V-legal documents in China: Exploring the options

Under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, Indonesia issues export licences attesting to the legality of its timber shipments to non-EU markets. These “V-Legal Documents” build on the same procedures followed in issuing Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licences to the EU market. China does not however currently recognise V-Legal Documents as proof of legality for timber and timber products that it imports from Indonesia.

Furniture products are packed in warehouses ready for export to the foreign market. Source: Murdani Usman, CIFOR

Yet according to new research by the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), doing so could pose opportunities for China and Chinese companies, along with some challenges.

CAF’s Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information explored the recognition of Indonesian V-Legal Documents in China in a study undertaken between 2018 and 2019. The research is part of the work of the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, which frames the collaboration between the EU and China on combating illegal logging and associated trade globally. The study built on a series of workshops facilitated by the EU FLEGT Facility in China.

Benefits identified by the research include simplifying due diligence for Chinese companies that exercise it, and promoting legal trade between China and Indonesia, and between China and international markets. It would also set a precedent supporting FLEGT. 

The study was conducted before China amended its Forest Law in 2020, prohibiting the purchase, transport and processing of illegal wood.

Next steps recommended by the study are a pilot project to explore how Chinese companies could integrate V-Legal Documents into their due diligence system; facilitating cooperation between Chinese and Indonesian industry associations; strengthening cooperation between the Chinese and Indonesian Governments in implementing their MoU on combatting illegal forest products trade; and raising Chinese company awareness of V-Legal Documents.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

South-east Asian countries share progress to tackle illegal logging and its associated trade

The 7th Regional Training Workshop on Timber Legality Assurance took place from 19 to 21 November 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Participants included representatives of nine member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan South Korea, the European Union, international organisations and the ASEAN Secretariat. They discussed their efforts to tackle illegal logging and its associated trade, and measures for trade in legal timber products.

Discussions on country progress on forest law enforcement, governance and trade. Source: EU FLEGT Facility

Delegates shared Indonesia’s experience with VPA implementation, FLEGT licensing and monitoring, and discussed progress in other ASEAN member states and in China, Japan, South Korea and the EU to ensure and document timber legality. Significant advancements since the last Timber Legality Assurance workshop in July 2018 in Thailand became apparent. Discussions also covered multi-stakeholder collaboration among ASEAN member states on forestry, governance and trade issues, and enhancing inter-agency coordination on environmental and forest law enforcement and management in the context of climate change. There was agreement on the need to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small and micro-economic entities to participate in legal and sustainable supply chains. 

 Participants of the workshop during the opening ceremony. Source: EU FLEGT Facility

Other topics covered were enforcement efforts for timber legality in ASEAN member states and the increasing importance of the legality of imported timber for Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand in particular.

The workshop was co-organised by the EU FLEGT Facility, the ASEAN Secretariat, the Indonesia Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Indonesia Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme Phase 4.

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Author: FLEGT.org Info