Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, December/January/February 2010/2011
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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.

Dear Reader
FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements (VPAs): News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives: EU Timber Regulation
FLEGT and Cross-cutting Issues: Research agenda - Meeting Reports
FLEGT Updates: News - Publications – Calls for Proposals - Others
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme

Dear Reader:

EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility began 2011 with a revised FLEGT website, which aims to provide information on activities undertaken by the EU and its partners under the FLEGT Action Plan; in particular on Voluntary Partnership Agreement processes around the world. We hope that the site, at, responds to the needs of both FLEGT newcomers and people working on FLEGT for some time. Your feedback on the new website is most welcome and we invite all readers to inform us about FLEGT projects or initiatives that are currently under way that could be added to the site. Please send your comments and documents to info(at)

EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility Team

Get the overview and go to the world map of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements.

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


Following the formal signature of a VPA between the EU and Cameroon in October, EFI undertook a mission to support the EU Delegation in Yaoundé in the facilitation of the Agreement’s implementation. The mission was an opportunity to discuss the progress of the national timber traceability project and the development of other components of the Legality Assurance System which will ensure legal compliance of timber, with the Cameroonian Ministry of Forest and Wildlife (MINFOF). The ratification of the VPA, a final formal step before enforcement of the Agreement, is expected to take place this spring in Cameroon.


Cameroon/Republic of Congo (ROC)

On 19 January, the European Parliament approved the FLEGT VPAs with Cameroon and Congo. This will now allow the finalisation of the ratification process of both agreements on European side. The Parliament welcomed the participatory process which took place during the VPA negotiation process and called for keeping this open and inclusive process in the implementation phase. In addition, they voted for a resolution that calls for further action and is available here.


Central African Republic (CAR):

Fifteen months after the opening of VPA negotiations, Professor Faustin Archange Touadera, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, and Guy Samzun, Ambassador to the European Union in CAR initialled an Agreement in Bangui on 21 December. In its framework, a Legality Assurance System will be developed ensuring the legal compliance of timber products exported from the Central African Republic. In order to reinforce the credibility of the national forest sector, the Government of CAR has decided to issue FLEGT licences for the export of all timber products included in the terms of the VPA, not only for those destined for the EU market. In addition to initialling a VPA, a detailed road map, which will guide the first six months of VPA implementation, was agreed. CAR anticipates issuing its first FLEGT license in 2014. It is the fourth country that concluded VPA negotiations with the EU after Ghana, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. For further information see: VPA Country Briefing Note in French and the CAR Press Release on the initialling of the Agreement in French.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

Following the opening of VPA negotiations in October, and the establishment of a multistakeholder technical committee in DRC, a formal negotiation session with the EU will take place in Kinshasa on 14-17 February. Participants will discuss a draft of the national timber legality definition. Elements have already been discussed at national level in a FAO-sponsored workshop on this topic held in Kinshasa in December (see below). The Parties will also discuss progress in the ongoing development of the national traceability and verification system and a timeline for forthcoming negotiation sessions.


Negotiations with Gabon opened in September. Progress to date includes the ongoing development of a national legality definition by the stakeholder group representatives. After two sessions by videoconference in December and January, a formal negotiation session with the EU is expected to take place in the coming weeks to discuss the draft legality definition and the associated components of the Gabonese Legality Assurance System. 


On 15-18 November the second formal meeting of the VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM), established to oversee the implementation of the Agreement, took place in Accra. The Parties noted that there has been recent progress in establishing the systems and institutional structures necessary to support VPA implementation and Ghana’s commitment to stakeholder engagement in the implementation phase has been strengthened with the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Implementation Committee. Furthermore, the piloting of the national Wood Tracking System began early in 2010 with the intention of working with the supply chains of four companies, from forest to point of export. To date, software modules have been developed for all steps of the Wood Tracking System and the Forestry Commission (FC) has developed a draft on-line system.

In support of implementation of the Agreement, EFI has contracted the consulting company LTS to help the FC’s Timber Validation Department develop a system to verify compliance with Ghana’s legality definition.


Two consultants have been contracted by EFI to carry out needs assessments in the country. 

  • The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) has carried out an inventory and evaluation of training resources and capacity building initiatives to guide VPA implementation in Liberia.
  • The consulting firm theIDLgroup will quantify the existing capacities of stakeholders included in the development and implementation of the national LAS, to identify what investment will be necessary for effective operating of the system.

The next formal negotiation session between the EU and Liberia is planned for mid March in Brussels.


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FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia:


The fifth Joint Indonesia-EU Experts Meeting took place in Jakarta between 28 November and 3 December. The objectives were to produce the final draft of the Terms of Reference for the periodic evaluation of VPA implementation, to further develop the description of the timber supply chain controls, to draft FLEGT licensing procedures, and to draft and finalise the legality definition for the VPA. The drafts have been submitted to the Technical Working Group for review. The next Joint Indonesia-EU Experts Meeting, 9-11 and 14 February, will focus on the drafting of the VPA Annexes on the Timber Legality Assurance System and public disclosure.


The Government of Vietnam, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, formally opened VPA negotiations with the EU during a Technical Working Group meeting held in Hanoi on 29-30 November. The discussion focussed on sharing experiences from countries that have already signed VPAs and on a roadmap for the VPA negotiation process for 2011. The development of a Legality Assurance System, as a key component of the VPA, will have to take into account Vietnam’s specific circumstances as a major processing hub in the Mekong region, importing timber products from 26 countries.
To inform the VPA process, three analytical studies have been commissioned:

  • a stakeholder analysis looking into the mechanisms for the engagement of stakeholder groups in the VPA negotiation process
  • an analysis of a legality definition framework for legal timber
  • a report on the domestic and imported timber flows in Vietnam.

The EU FLEGT Facility at EFI will support the Vietnamese team undertaking these studies over the next months.


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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives: EU Timber Regulation:

The EU Timber Regulation:

The EU Timber Regulation (Regulation (EU) N0 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market) has now entered into force and will be applied in practice on 3 March 2013, giving operators and authorities charged with enforcement of the Regulation time to prepare. It prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber and products of such timber on the EU market. Updated information can be found here on the DG Environment website. EFI has translated the Regulation into Mandarin (leaflet).

Study on due diligence systems in Europe:

The EU Timber Regulation requires EU economic operators that supply timber and timber products to the EU market for the first time, to exercise "due diligence" to ensure the legality of their products. Each operator must have a system which contains the following three elements: i) measures and procedures providing access to information concerning the operator's supply of timber; ii) risk assessment procedures; iii) risk mitigation procedures. DG Environment of the European Commission has contracted EFI to carry out a study that will provide information on the status quo of existing due diligence systems in Europe. EFI will undertake the assignment with two of its associate members, the University of Padova (Italy) and Finnish consulting company INDUFOR. The four-month study aims to identify the most efficient ways to fulfil the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation with respect to risk assessment and risk management procedures and outline proposed procedures for recognition of monitoring organisations. For further information contact: gert-jan.nabuurs(at)


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FLEGT and Cross-cutting Issues: Research agenda - Meeting Reports:

Governance research agenda in the context of FLEGT and REDD:

Since starting to develop a FLEGT Research Agenda an internal EFI task force has been established, which met twice in December to identify the main areas of research. These will be: 

  • Policies and institutions
  • Monitoring as governance mechanism 
  • Markets and trade 
  • Socioeconomics 
  • Organisations, processes and networks

This framework was presented and discussed during a side event of the FLEGT Week in January in Brussels and valuable comments were received, including the addition of the nature and extent of illegal logging, degradation and deforestation linked to their respective drivers, and consideration of REDD impacts on commodities and trade. The Research Agenda process was presented during the 17th Illegal Logging Update Meeting at Chatham House at the end of January. As next step, an external advisory board will be established and the main topics will be consolidated. For further information contact: Jo.vanbrusselen(at)


Dialogue on Requirements for Timber Legality Verification in the Global Market (Kuala Lumpur):

On 18 October, a Dialogue on Requirements for Timber Legality Verification in the Global Market was organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, held in conjunction with Global Woodmart and co-organised by the Malaysian Timber Council and EFI-EU FLEGT Asia, with support from the UK Timber Trade Federation, the Netherlands Timber Federation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The event brought together buyers from Europe with suppliers from Southeast Asia, giving them an opportunity to discuss changing market requirements in the timber trade. Six speakers covered topics which included the implementation of due diligence from an industry perspective, Southeast Asia timber trade flows, certification and verification developments in Malaysia, the EU Timber Regulation and the US Lacey Act. Presentations can be found here. The presentations were followed by an interactive session looking at Ideas for Compliance. This panel discussion included industry representatives from the UK, the Netherlands, the USA, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

Sub-Regional TLAS Workshop (Hanoi):

Together with the ASEAN Secretariat and the International Cooperation Department (ICD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam, EFI-EU FLEGT Asia co-organised the Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Timber Legality Assurance Systems in Hanoi, Vietnam on 24-26 November 2010. Participants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and resource persons from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the EU gave presentations and joined discussions during the two days. National working groups formulated a roadmap for their respective countries to develop credible Timber Legality Assurance Systems. The workshop was concluded with a field trip to Woodsland, a company that produces furniture for IKEA. The meeting report can be found here.

REDD FLEGT Side Event at UNFCCC COP16 (Cancun):

The European Commission and the EU FLEGT Facility co-organized a side event on FLEGT and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) on 2 December 2010 at the UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun. The event was directed at climate change negotiators, delegates from international organisations and observers gathered in Cancun. Its objectives were to inform the climate change community about ongoing activities under the FLEGT Action Plan and discuss potential synergies between FLEGT and REDD programmes. Mr Etienne Coyette from DG DEVCO of the European Commission provided an overview of the FLEGT Action Plan and an update on the development of VPAs. Mrs Marie Thérése Basiala, FLEGT Focal Point for Democratic Republic of Congo, explained why her country had decided to enter into the negotiation of a VPA agreement with the EU. Ms Kate Dooley from FERN highlighted the key FLEGT lessons that can contribute to the implementation of REDD, emphasising the conditions for good multi-stakeholder involvement and engagement. Finally, Ms Valérie Merckx, REDD Expert in EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility, gave an overview of potential areas for synergies between REDD and FLEGT activities, and presented the work that the Facility will undertake on the topic. The discussion, chaired by Mr Matthew Wyatt, Head of Climate and Environment Department in DFID UK, indicated a strong interest in exploring how ongoing FLEGT activities, focusing on forest governance, can contribute to building and implementing REDD+ national strategies.

UNDRIP Conference (Kuala Lumpur)

A conference on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), co-organised by EFI-EU FLEGT Asia with the Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies and the Centre for Legal Pluralism and Indigenous Law, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, took place on 9-10 December in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Around 40 speakers from countries including the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain and Indonesia presented a large variety of papers on indigenous rights, governance and native customary rights, and fundamental rights on land and resources. Many of the speakers were leaders of local indigenous peoples' associations and social groups and actively participated in the lively discussions that followed the presentations.

ITTO Side event (Yokohama)

On 14 December 2010, EFI-EU FLEGT Asia held a working lunch under the topic Meeting Legality Requirements in Global Timber Markets during the 46th session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Yokohama, Japan. EFI-EU FLEGT Asia’s regional advisors, Mr. Wu Shengfu and Dr. Chen Xiaoqian from China, Dr. Khamla Phanvilay from Laos and Mr. Jirawat Tangkijngamwong from Thailand, as well as Dr. Robianto Koestomo from Indonesia presented their thoughts on meeting the EU Timber Regulation and other market requirements in their respective countries. The presentations were followed by a Question and Answer session. Around 80 people attended the event.

EU’s FLEGT training course and FLEGT 6th Annual Coordination Meeting (Brussels)

On 10-12 January 2011, the European Commission held a training course on FLEGT: From theory to practice in Brussels, inviting staff of the European Commission, EU Delegations and VPA partner country embassies as well as FLEGT special envoys to join. The training provided a FLEGT introduction to newcomers and a platform for the exchange of experiences. It was followed by the FLEGT 6th Annual Coordination Meeting, held on 12-14 January for people working on FLEGT, such as project coordinators, stakeholder representatives and those from relevant international organisations. Altogether around 170 people gathered during the FLEGT Week and discussions included lessons learned from different stakeholder groups on FLEGT and VPAs, potential linkages between FLEGT and REDD, evolving requirements for maximising the impact of the FLEGT Action Plan and aspects of monitoring.

In addition to the wide-ranging discussions, the outcomes of the FLEGT Action Plan Progress Report, compiled by John Hudson and Catherine Paul for EFI on behalf of the European Commission, were presented. The report will be published in 2011. Links to the presentations of the FLEGT 6th Annual Coordination Meeting can be found here.

Integration of domestic timber markets in FLEGT/VPAs and REDD+ (Brussels)

A seminar titled Bridging local and global interests: Integration of domestic timber markets in FLEGT/VPAs and REDD+ took place on 17-18 January 2011, jointly organised by Tropenbos International (TBI), Wageningen University, the Center for International Forestry Research, Chatham House, the European Forest Institute, the European Tropical Forest Research Network, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). The event brought together policy makers, professionals and researchers with an interest in the interaction between international forest policies and local livelihoods. Participants discussed the effective incorporation of domestic timber markets in VPAs, mapping the potential consequences of VPAs on local livelihoods, and the relevance of these to the REDD+ process. The focus of the seminar was on Africa, in particular on the countries with signed VPAs (Ghana, Republic of Congo and Cameroon).


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FLEGT Updates: News - Publications – Calls for Proposals - Others:

News picks:

European Parliament reports on “New EU-Africa timber partnerships could herald more forestry protection” on 17 January 2011.
Australian reported “Crackdown on illegal timber” on 9 December 2010. The related Press Release of the Ministry for Agriculture is available here.

Malaysian Bar report about a “Revised Act to punish illegal logging offenders with RM1mil fine” on 2 December 2010.


On the occasion of the VPA initialling between the Central African Republic and the European Union, representatives of both Parties published a VPA CAR Country Briefing Note, available in French.

The EFI Policy Brief 5 Changing International Markets for Timber and Wood Products – Main Policy Instruments has now been published in English, French and Spanish.

Illegal logging and its impacts, assuring legality and involving stakeholders through VPAs, and changing markets are the main topics of four FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement Training Films, recently published by EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility, including the FLEGT Asia Programme, and produced by Handcrafted Films. The films are available in English, French and Spanish and can be watched here. Here you can also find three FLEGT short films, providing a more general introduction to the topic.

The research paper Concept of livelihood in the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement and the expected impacts on the livelihood of forest communities in Ghana, written by EFI’s S. Ramcilovic-Suominen and her colleagues D. Gritten and O. Saastamoinen from the School of Forest Sciences in Joensuu, has been published in International Forestry Review, Vol. 12 (4), 2010. It is available here.


Calls for proposals:

The local Call for Proposals EuropeAid/130683/L/ACT/LR - Supporting participation of national civil society organisations in FLEGT VPA implementation in Liberia has been launched. The European Union is seeking proposals for supporting participation of national civil society organisations in FLEGT VPA implementation in Liberia, with financial assistance from the Environment and Natural Resources Thematic Programme (ENTRP). Full guidelines for Applicants are available at the Delegation of the European Union, 100 UN Drive, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia and here. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 22 March 2011.



On 22 December 2010, a contract with EuropeAid was signed by EFI’s Director Risto Päivinen for EFI to host the newly established EU REDD Facility. The Facility aims at assisting targeted developing countries by providing effective support to the development of REDD+ national frameworks and actions as well as assist the European Commission, EU delegations and the EU Member States in providing such support. The Facility will also help developing countries in building their capacity and improving forest governance so as to help them meet their REDD+ objectives. A contribution of EUR 3 million has been pledged by the European Commission to start the EU REDD Facility. Co-funding from EU Member States and other partners is expected. For further information contact: Risto Päivinen, Director (risto.paivinen(at) or Valérie Merckx, REDD Expert (valerie.merckx(at)

EFI is now looking for a REDD expert to assist the Team Leader of the EU REDD Facility. Please see the full announcement here.

To expand the capacity of EFI’s team supporting VPA processes between the EU and partner countries, the EU FLEGT Facility of the European Forest Institute is now seeking a Governance Expert. The full job announcement is available here.

In the coming weeks more posts will be opened in the EU FLEGT Facility, including two Communications Experts. The job announcements will be published here

With the Netherlands as new donor, the number of EU Member States supporting EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility has grown. For an overview on the current donors of the Facility, click here.


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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme:

Third call for proposals:FAOsmalllogo1.jpg : 4.40625Kb

The FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme closed the third call for proposals on 22 October 2010 after receiving 80 new proposals from over 25 different countries within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Island Group of Countries. At the end of the proposal review process 20 additional proposals were endorsed for funding by the Steering Committee in January 2011. To date, the programme has endorsed 63 projects for funding in 31 different countries of the 79 ACP countries. The final call for proposals through the programme will be issued in the first half of 2011.


Support for governance reform in the Sierra Leonean forest sector:

The Sierra Leonean Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Division, through support from ACP-FLEGT, inaugurated a pilot project to improve governance of the commercial forest activities during a sensitisation workshop on 21 January 2011. The workshop presented information on the EU FLEGT Action Plan, the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme and the new pilot project. Project resources are supporting the Forestry Division to begin developing a definition of legal timber and timber products and chain of custody procedures, and to hold training on independent monitoring of forest resources.


Workshop on the cross-border flows in the African Great Lakes region within the FLEGT Action Plan (Bujumbura, 22-24 November).

This workshop was organized by the FAO through its ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, in collaboration with IUCN and CIFOR. It aimed at discussing issues of illegal logging in East DRC, and fraudulent export to lucrative East African markets. The participants identified the main failings and barriers within the control systems at a national, regional and inter-state levels. Recommendations were made to reduce illegal logging and trade of forest products and on how to allow the development of a legal market in the Great Lakes region. The workshop report is available on the FAO website


Drafting a grid of the FLEGT legality system for the VPA negotiations in DRC

Supported by the ACP-FLEGT Programme, the WWF and CODELT are organizing a multi-stakeholder working group to develop a preliminary version of the legality grid that will be discussed during the VPA negotiations. Under this project, the grid will also be tested in the field at different stages of the timber production chain and in different contexts that are characteristic of the timber industry in DRC, the objective is to assess the quality of the proposed criteria, indicators and verifiers for the legality definition. This work contributes to the negotiations of the VPA, which started in October 2010 and should continue through 2012.


See the FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme website ( for all complementary information regarding projects and activities. Or contact the programme management at acp-flegt-info(at) 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