Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, January/February 2012
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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 Related Dialogue
FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives
FLEGT Updates: Publications – News
Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme

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

Central African Republic (CAR):

An EU FLEGT Facilitator is currently being recruited by EFI to support the national VPA implementation process. The activities of the Facilitator will contribute to further stakeholder engagement and assist in the development of a Technical Secretariat which will coordinate VPA-related operations. 



EFI’s Technical Assistance to VPA implementation through the consulting company LTS International started early January 2012. The LTS team in Liberia consists of two long-term consultants who will be supported throughout 2012 by a range of short-term consultants working on very specific assignments. The assistance relates to measures geared at strengthening and supporting the VPA implementation and it will focus on aspects such as capacity building, institutional support, strengthening law enforcement and regulatory frameworks, and communication support.


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Asia:


Several activities focussing on stakeholder dialogue and Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) design will take place in 2012, in the context of the ongoing VPA negotiations. 

A videoconference between EU and Vietnamese negotiators was in January, providing an opportunity to review comments provided by 20 Vietnamese stakeholders on the fourth draft of the legality definition. The parties also discussed plans to supporting stakeholder consultation to broaden and strengthen civil society participation in the VPA preparation process. Tentative plans were also agreed for a study tour to Indonesia and a workshop, both in March and aimed at informing further development of the nascent TLAS.


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FLEGT Related Dialogue:

FLEGT Scoping Mission to Japan

FLEGT Scoping Mission to Japan EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Team visited Tokyo between 28 November and 2 December 2011 to gain more insight in Japan’s efforts to deal with the trade in illegal timber. With the help of the EU Delegation to Japan meetings were held with the Government, including the department for Foreign Affairs, the Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Environment. In addition, meetings were held with representatives of the agency responsible for the national voluntary national verification system, Goho Wood, the forestry research institute, various sectors of the processing industry including the Japan Paper Association, some major retailers, civil society organisations and a consumer organisation.


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FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues:

FLEGT Workshop in Laos

A workshop on the Timber Supply and Tracking Study was conducted by the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia. The workshop, held in Vientiane on the 9th of January 2012 and co-chaired by MAF's Vice-Minister and the EU Delegation, presented a background on FLEGT and the initial results of the Timber Supply and Tracking Study. The study looked into Lao PDR’s control of timber movements from the forest to the forest gate, the quota and licence allocation system and levels of documentation. The study identified significant problems in the current timber control system and highlighted a number of areas of improvement. The results of the study were in principle confirmed by the 70 workshop participants from central and local governments, private sector, NGOs and Donors. A discussion on ways to address the identified shortcomings and the benefits of entering into VPA negotiations concluded the event.


Malaysian National Seminar on Social Forestry

On the 29 November 2011 EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia participated in a Malaysian National Seminar on Social Forestry, entitled ‘Raising Quality of Life of Communities and Sustainable Forest Management’ in Lawas, Sarawak. The event, organised by the Malaysian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Sarawak Forests Department and the Sabah Forestry Department, aimed to support Social Forestry efforts in the country to improve the quality of life of communities working towards SFM. The event brought together international speakers and concluded with an active dialogue on social forestry and the role indigenous peoples play in it.


Strengthening of TLAS Linkages in Peninsular Malaysia

A Consultation on Mechanisms to Strengthen Coordination for the Implementation of Malaysia’s Timber Legality Assurance System (MYTLAS) was organised by the Protem Secretariat for the Malaysia - EU FLEGT VPA and held in Kuala Lumpur on 17 January. A total of 66 participants attended from a range of Ministries, the Forestry Departments of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, Labour Departments, Occupational Safety and Health Institutes and Customs, as well as the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC). Following several presentations the group discussed progress with the system and made the following recommendations:

  • That Malaysia should move ahead with the implementation of the system in order to be seen to support the trade of legally sourced timber and timber products.
  • That the MYTLAS should be treated as a living document which could be improved through experience of implementation, increased resources and potentially, the application of new technologies. 
  • That the system/process be designed to accept inputs from stakeholders from time to time.

Policy and Governance Short Course in Da Lat, Vietnam

EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia team was invited to present a paper during a Policy and Governance Short Course held 24-26 November 2011 in Da Lat, Vietnam. The course, exploring linkages between forestry and climate change, was co-organised by a number of organisations including RECOFTC, the ASEAN Social Forestry Network, UN-REDD and USAID. The FLEGT Asia team made a presentation which covered timber market drivers, entitled Legality: the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance & Trade Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation. This was followed by a lively and open discussion on illegal timber flows in the region.


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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives:

FSC to adjust standards to comply with EU Timber Regulation

On 3 January 2012, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) released a statement explaining that it is in the process of adjusting its standards to comply with the EU Timber Regulation. In addition, FSC stated that it is also considering the development of a wider due diligence system to help certificate holders that do not work exclusively with FSC certified materials.



EUTR Platform by ATIBT and the ProForest Initiative

ATIBT (The International Technical Association of Tropical Forests) and the Proforest Initiative are launching an EUTR Platform with the objective to provide a common and reliable source of information on timber trade and legality for all stakeholders to facilitate the implementation and enforcement of the EUTR by providing acknowledged references to feed into risk assessment and support risk mitigation procedures. The platform is endorsed and supported by the French Ministry of Agriculture. For further information, see the EUTR Platform concept note or consult the EUTR Platform's introductory website.


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FLEGT-REDD Linkages:

UNFCCC COP17 – Durban, South Africa, 28 November - 4 December

After two weeks of intensive negotiations on climate change, the negotiators in Durban agreed to launch a Platform for Enhanced Action. All parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will begin discussions next year to "develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force" by 2015.

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EC Side Event in Durban. © Valérie Merckx, EU REDD Facility, EFI.

On REDD+, the decisions adopted in Durban state that results-based finance may come from a wide variety of sources. The potential of REDD+ to "promote poverty, alleviation and biodiversity benefits, ecosystem resilience and the linkages between adaptation and mitigation" was acknowledged in the negotiations. It was also agreed on that MRV, monitoring and accounting still need to be developed further. Delegates adopted separate guidance on social and environmental safeguards agreed at the Cancún meeting in 2010, which explicitly calls for reporting on all safeguards in all phases of REDD+. Guidance on setting a country’s reference levels for REDD+ was also adopted. It foresees a sequential process by which REDD+ countries will submit their proposed reference level once ready (‘when deemed appropriate’) and a review process prior to the adoption of the reference levels by the COP.


Conférence des acteurs français sur les forêts tropicales

The French national working group on tropical forests (GNFT) organised a tropical forests conference on 11-12 January in Paris. The event aimed to provide an update on actions taken since the publication of the ‘Livre blanc sur les forêts tropicales in 2006’, introducing the issues to new stakeholders such as territorial administrations and stakeholders from the financial and distribution sectors. The group discussed critical tropical forestry questions in preparation for an updated version of the publication, planned for the spring. Topics such as REDD+, forest certification and forest management plans, FLEGT VPAs and the EU Timber Regulation were covered. The programme, presentations and summary of the interventions made during the conference are available here.


EU REDD Facility mission to the Republic of Congo

Representatives of UN REDD, FCPF and EFI’s EU REDD Facility took part in a joint mission to RoC on 23-27 January, in order to support the development of a national UN REDD proposal and a new structure for the engagement of civil society. During the Mission a stakeholder consultation was organised, during which it was agreed that the REDD+ Interim Commission would be replaced with a new more formal stakeholder structure. The Government of Congo, UN REDD and FCPF will provide up to US$ 8 million to support a REDD+ readiness process in the RoC. In the margins of this joint mission EFI explored the possibility of setting up a Memorandum of Understanding with the National REDD+ Coordination Committee (CN-REDD), which would provide support to civil society, departmental platforms and the CN REDD itself.


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FLEGT Updates: Publications – News:


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FLEGT Briefing Notes available in Dutch
Publications The EC FLEGT Briefing Notes 1-7 have been published in Dutch (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). The series of briefing notes explain the EU's expectations for Voluntary Partnership Agreements. The series has previously been published in English and French.




Combating the international trade in illegally-harvested timber – supporting the development of the EU Timber Regulation
EFI_EUTR_MaD_cover.jpg : 6.0537109375KbEFI has published Combating international trade in illegally harvested timber – supporting the development of the EU Timber Regulation in its Making a Difference: From Science to Policy series. The document details EFI’s coordination of the EUTR Support Study, which investigated the most effective ways of meeting various requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The publication gives an overview of the project team’s methodology and final recommendations, which are being considered by the European Commission with a view to adopting more detailed rules in June 2012.






TFT Comparison Briefing Note
The Forest Trust (TFT) has published a briefing note which compares the different legislative initiatives to halt the trade in illegally logged timber and timber products in the European Union, the United States and Australia. Further briefing notes on this subject can be found on the TFT’s website.

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The winner of the first Manga Festival organized by The French Institute of Laos, in collaboration with the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok, the Japanese Embassy, the FSP Mekong programme, GIZ and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Programme, in Laos last November has been announced. 15-year old Aphisith submitted the winning cartoon in the “Deforestation and dealing with the protection of the forests in Laos” series. The winning cartoon is available here.



Vietnam leads ASEAN timber exporters Vietnam News has reported that Vietnam has become the largest exporter of timber and wood products in ASEAN, according to the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council (AFIC) [read full article].


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Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme:

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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme assists countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP region) to address FLEGT-related issues. Since its inception in 2009, the Programme has supported 90 projects in 31 countries by issuing 4 calls for proposals and providing grants to forest authorities, NGOs and private sector organizations in areas they have identified as priorities for improving forest law compliance and governance.
These include capacity building and training, the development and management of timber verification systems, improving transparency and independent monitoring, community-based FLEGT initiatives and reviewing and updating relevant policies, legislation or regulations. The Programme is completing a final year of activities and will now focus on lessons learning in the ACP group of countries.

The following are recent activities that support the successful implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements.



In Cameroon, the Programme supports VPA implementation through 12 projects. Notably, the Programme is supporting the Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forêts to successfully develop a curriculum covering FLEGT / VPA and eco-certification. These modules are being taught to all Forestry Agents and Technicians; a total of 420 students that seek to join public service, NGOs, the private sector and in particular, the Ministry in charge of Forests. In the future, these trained agents will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the implementation of the Legality Verification System (LVS) or other aspects of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement.


Central African Republic

In CAR, PARPAF completed a rapid review of domestic and international markets and timber movements. This review estimated the volume of rough timber that enters Bangui every year at 44,000 m3, which is equal to the volume of industrial timber exported annually by CAR. The results of the study will be used to develop strategies to implement the VPA and include the local market in the Legality Verification System.



In Uganda the Programme recently concluded two projects related to domestic and international market issues. WWF and CARE International are working together to develop a clear understanding of domestic and import market patterns, origins, extent of illegality of timber products and current management systems operating in Uganda. CARE will manage most of the community intervention activities and develop local stakeholder groups. WWF will provide recommendations to improve systems to monitor and manage domestic market transparently and reduce illegal domestic and trans-boundary timber flows.



Please see the ACP FLEGT programme website 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