Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, August/September 2010
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Bimonthly news on common efforts of the EU and its partner countries and institutions to combat illegal logging and to implement the EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), compiled by EFI in cooperation with the FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme and the European Commission.

FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements (VPAs): News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives
FLEGT Updates: Recent publications – Meetings - Open tender
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News

FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements (VPAs): News from Africa:

Central African Republic (CAR):

The Central African Republic is moving fast towards concluding VPA negotiations. (Bi-) Monthly video conferences enable technical discussions between the EU and country representatives. EFI continues to support the National Coordination Committee on the development of the Legality Assurance System and a number of forest governance commitments which will be included in Annexes to the legal agreement. A formal negotiation session took place in Bangui in June, led by the Head of Unit Sustainable Management of Resources of DG Development at the European Commission for the EU side and the Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing for CAR. The meeting included a public information session with the Minister explaining the VPA process and objectives. Central African representatives of the private sector, NGOs, journalists, and other interested parties asked questions about the systems being developed and the impacts to the country as a result of the VPA. The next formal negotiation, the fourth, is planned for mid-October in Brussels. The goal is to sign the VPA by the end of 2010.


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

Formal VPA negotiations between the EU and the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to start during the next quarter of the year. As part of pre-negotiations, EFI carried out a mission to Kinshasa in July to meet with key stakeholders. Discussions focused on how the current work undertaken by national NGOs to define legality, financed by FAO, could contribute to the FLEGT VPA Legality Definition development and how DRC’s development of a national timber tracking system, undertaken by SGS under World Bank funding, could contribute to the Legality Assurance System which will underpin a VPA with the country.



The negotiators, led by the Liberian Deputy Minister of Agriculture and the Development Director of the European Commission, met mid July in Monrovia for a formal VPA session. Discussions focused on a draft national Legality Definition and Terms of Reference for various tasks that Liberia is planning to outsource. The Government will contract consultants to develop first drafts of a number of forest governance policy commitments that will be included in the VPA as Annexes, for example focusing on independent monitor, public information and transparency as well as on verification procedures. The meeting also included a stakeholder session, and participating representatives of the private sector and NGOs raised questions, inter alia, about key challenges in VPA countries which already concluded agreements, the process of issuing FLEGT licenses and the new EU legislation proposed on illegal timber. Furthermore, a field trip to a concession area provided the opportunity to learn more about the national chain of custody system for timber and timber products that is currently being developed. The next formal negotiation session is planned for October in Brussels.


Republic of Congo (ROC):

On 24 August, the fourth technical meeting on VPA implementation took place in Brazzaville. Reports, which were presented at the meeting, described the progress made on the ratification of the agreement, but also on the implementation of the tracking system and the legality verification procedures as well as on support from civil society, communication and the creation of a website.

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FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia:


A first video conference between Vietnam and the EU, to discuss steps forward regarding a VPA, was held on 16 August. The Vietnam delegation was led by the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Hua Duc Nhi. The EU delegation was jointly led by a representative of DG Environment of the European Commission and of the EU Delegation in Hanoi. The meeting achieved agreement on a number of issues, including the finalisation of a Vietnam-EU Joint Statement, the tentative dates for a first bilateral Technical Working Group at the end of November 2010 in Hanoi, and a number of VPA-related capacity building activities which will be facilitated by EFI. For the joint statement, click here.


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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives:

The EU "Illegal Timber" Regulation:

On 7 July, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a compromise package of amendments to the “Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market”, now often referred to as the EU Illegal Timber Regulation (formerly known as The Due Diligence Regulation). The amendments were the result of negotiations between the Presidency of the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. The proposal for a Regulation will now go to the Council and is expected to be formally adopted in October or November. A time period of 27 months is foreseen before the Regulation becomes applicable. One of the main amendments to the Commission's original proposal is the inclusion of an explicit prohibition on the sale of illegal timber in the EU, in addition to the requirement for operators to exercise "due diligence". FLEGT-licensed timber, issued under a credible VPA, will be considered to meet all requirements of the Regulation.


"Due diligence" news from Australia:

In the run-up to federal elections on 21 August, Australia's Labor party announced that, if elected,
they would introduce a due diligence system with criminal penalties for timber traders, to combat
the import of illegal wood. Australia’s Minister for Forestry, Tony Burke, presented the plans at a press conference in Melbourne. For the transcript, posted on 10 August, click here.

Responsible Procurement Policies - WWF campaign in Spain:

The WWF Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) has been working with local governments in Spain to develop and implement responsible public procurement policies. For further information on the campaign, “Ciudades por los Bosques” or “Cities for the Forest”, click here.

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FLEGT Updates: Recent publications – Meetings - Open tender:

Recent Publications:

In July, Chatham House launched a report on the impact of global policies against illegal logging. The report “Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response” by Sam Lawson and Larry MacFaul highlights substantial progress, made as a result of joint global efforts to fight illegal logging. Illegal logging is estimated to have fallen during the last decade by 50% in Cameroon, by between 50 and 75% in the Brazilian Amazon, and by 75% in Indonesia. At the same time, it shows that illegal logging remains a major problem. The assessment covers 12 countries. The report also received broad media attention. For the press release, the summary, country report cards and the full report, click here

Upcoming Meetings:

On 7-8 September 2010, the International Conference "Forests, Markets, Policy & Practice – China 2010” will take place in Beijing, China. It will examine trends in forest certification, legality verification and markets in China and globally. The Conference is hosted by the International Forestry Cooperation Center of Chinese State Forestry Administration and co-organised by EU-EFI FLEGT Asia, among others. For the official Conference Website, please click here

On 13-14 September 2010, a symposium organised by World Bank, PROFOR and FAO will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. The objective is to define a common set of indicators for forest governance. Since several agencies have begun developing tools for assessing forest governance in countries, for example to monitor REDD or VPAs, the symposium has been initialed to avoid duplication of such efforts.


On 15-17 September 2010, the European Tropical Forestry Advisers’ Group (ETFAG) will hold its annual session in Stockholm, Sweden.


From 4-8 October 2010, the twentieth Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) will be held in conjunction with the World Forest Week (a series of meetings and events sponsored by FAO and its partner organisations and institutions) at FAO in Rome, Italy. More information is available here. A FLEGT side event organised by FAO, EU and EFI will take place on Thursday October 7th at 14.30 hrs in the German room of the FAO. 


From 6-8 October 2010, the third International Timber Trade Federation Day (ITTFD) titled "Maintaining the momentum – marketing legal and sustainable timber” will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference is funded by the European Commission and through the Timber Trade Action Plan (TTAP), which is managed by The Forest Trust. Note that participation is by invitation only. For further information, pls. contact ttap(a)

On 11-14 October 2010, the UNECE Timber Committee week, including market discussions and a policy forum, will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Participation requires registration in advance (admission is free). For the programme and registration, pls. click here

Open Tender News:

The open framework tender, published in May by the EFI EU FLEGT Facility on behalf of the European Commission to facilitate support for VPA implementation in countries, was well-received: in total, 69 tenders were submitted to support the Facility’s work. The evaluation process has been completed. EFI has informed all tenderers about the selected entities who will be invited to sign a framework contract. The Award Notice is available here. (Exact title: “Multiple framework agreement for EU FLEGT Facility, EFI procurement reference number 2010-7.1-1”)

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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News :

The Programme's third call for proposals:FAOsmalllogo1.jpg : 4.40625Kb

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ACP-FLEGT Support Programme has announced its third call for proposals. Programme stakeholders (government institutions, civil society organizations and private sector organizations from African, Caribbean and Pacific Island countries) may submit proposals for pilot projects or technical assistance up to the closing date on 22 October 2010.


New projects endorsed through the Programme

The ACP-FLEGT programme through FAO is supporting 20 new projects addressing priority FLEGT related activities. Projects endorsed include five from the Caribbean, two from the Pacific Islands and thirteen from African countries. The programme continues to seek participation from under-represented countries and governments seeking to initiate FLEGT activities.

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme is a four-year initiative that started in November 2008 through support from the European Commission. The programme provides assistance to ACP countries to put the EU FLEGT Action Plan into practice, and supports the collection, analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and lessons learned among stakeholder groups in ACP countries.

See the programme website for more information on currently funded projects, project thematic areas, and how to participate. Or contact the programme management at acp-flegt-info(a) for more information.

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If you would like to submit information on EU FLEGT related activities or editorial comments please send them to info(at)

The EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process was initiated in 2003 with the publication of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. It addresses governance reforms and capacity building, supported by actions aimed at reducing the consumption of illegally harvested timber in the EU and ultimately major consumer markets elsewhere in the world. Further related documents: Council Conclusions (2003), Council Regulation on FLEGT licensing scheme (2005)

The European Forest Institute's(EFI) EU FLEGT Facility supports the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan and is funded by the European Union, and the Governments of Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The Facility currently conducts activities in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union

Further information: and