Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, July/August/September 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 Partnership Agreements – News from Africa
FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements – News from Asia
Cross-cutting issues
Publications, upcoming events, news, open positions and calls for tender
Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme

FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements – News from Africa:



To implement its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU, Liberia is developing legality verification procedures for its Forest Development Authority (FDA). Work to develop VPA-related procedures in other government departments and agencies is about to start. Likewise, health and safety regulations in the forestry sector are being strengthened.

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Furthermore, an institutional review of the FDA has been carried out to assist with the development of the Legality Assurance System. The EU FLEGT Facility is providing technical assistance with the help of consultancy firm LTS International.


Liberia, in collaboration with the UK Department for International Development and the EC, is in the process of procuring two service providers to manage on an interim basis the Liberia Verification Department and the VPA support unit. The Liberia Verification Department will be in charge of legality verification. The VPA support unit will have two roles: to strengthen the capacity of several Liberian institutions to enable them to meet their responsibilities as set out in the VPA, and to ensure efficient and effective coordination among all VPA actors. More information.

Democratic Republic of Congo

On 31 August 2012 the Ministry of Environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the resumption of work of the Technical Commission in charge of the FLEGT VPA negotiations with the EU. Ms Yvonne Sansa Ayona has been appointed as the new advisor and focal point for the FLEGT VPA negotiations. On 4 September, the country’s VPA Technical Commission restarted work on the VPA legality grid that applies to exploitation and commercialisation of timber from industrial concessions.


Also two commissions of experts are to be set up to identify factors contributing to increases in illegal timber trade and to review all issues related to timber export. See the full press release here in French.


Republic of Congo

Legality verification procedures needed to implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) have been drafted over the past year. A test à blanc will be conducted from September to December to test these procedures in practice and to verify the current legality status of all the forest companies currently in operation in the Republic of Congo. Consultancy firm TEREA and officials from the Congolese forest administration will carry out the test. L’Association technique internationale des bois tropicaux (ATIBT) will conduct a mission in early September to help the forest companies prepare for the test à blanc.


In addition, the country’s second VPA-FLEGT newsletter has been published (in French). This issue focuses on the Legality Assurance System, the role of civil society and projects financed by the FAO’s ACP-FLEGT Support Programme.




The second meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC; the Comité conjoint de suivi or CCS), took place on 17 July. It was preceded and followed by technical discussions.



Issues covered included the Committee’s rules of procedure, institutional arrangements relating to the Comité national de suivi (CNS), the multi-stakeholder committee charged with following up the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), the ongoing legal reform process and resulting amendments/modifications of national legality grids, experiences from a traceability pilot project and the role and scope of independent auditing. The Aide Memoire and Work Plan will be available on the EU and Ministry of Forestry (MINFOF) websites as well as on the EU FLEGT Facility website.


At the end of the JIC meeting, Cameroonian government and non-governmental committee members who participated in VPA negotiations received medals and honours for their work.

The EFI VPA team visited Cameroon in May and July to prepare for the meeting and met with a wide range of government actors, the private sector and civil society organisations. The team supported preparations for the JIC meeting, worked with MINFOF on implementing the traceability projects and helped develop terms of reference for the implementation of the transparency and anti-corruption commitments outlined in the VPA. The third JIC meeting is expected to take place in November/December 2012.

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FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements – News from Asia:




Final stakeholder mapping workshop held in Chiang Mai


The Forest and People Research Centre in Chiang Mai, the Royal Forestry Department and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Regional Support Programme organised a summary workshop for a stakeholder mapping study, held on 23 July. The study was carried out as part of the Royal Thai Government’s preparations for possible Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) negotiations with the EU.


The event was attended by 100 participants from government agencies including the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, Justice and Human Rights and the Parliament of Thailand. The private sector and civil society, including farmers associations and NGOs, were also present. The EU Delegation to Thailand and the Royal Forestry Department co-chaired the event, at which EFI experts delivered a presentation. The workshop summary is here.


Workshop in Bangkok: ‘EU Timber Regulation – Impact and Strategies for Thai Timber Exports to the EU’


Thailand’s representatives to the EU in Brussels and the Royal Forestry Department organised a workshop on the impact of the EU Timber Regulation, held in Bangkok on 26 July. A representative from each of the EC and the EFI participated in this event. The Belgian Federation of Wood Importers and IKEA presented the EU private sector’s views on the EU Timber Regulation. About 90 representatives, mainly from government agencies and the private sector, participated in the workshop.





Update on Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiations at the 20th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation


The Director of Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department provided an update on the progress of VPA negotiations at the 20th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation held at Chatham House, London, on 5 July: development of Vietnam’s Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) is progressing well, with the fifth draft of the legality definition drafted and consultation continuing with stakeholders; the target of concluding negotiations by March 2013 remains. The Director also outlined the range of technical assistance and investment that will be needed for the implementation stage.


Stakeholder consultations in Vietnam are progressing with the first workshop of the nascent Vietnamese NGO FLEGT network held in July and a consultative meeting with enterprises and industry associations held in August. In September, the Vietnamese NGO FLEGT network, which comprises some 30 members, will be consulting relevant communities identified by member organisations on the legality definition. The industry consultation, hosted by VNFOREST with support from GIZ and WWF, provided an opportunity for dialogue on a range of issues, including imported timber, legality verification, the role of certification schemes, FLEGT Licensing and the EU Timber Regulation.


In June, VNFOREST and EFI undertook a joint field visit, which provided an excellent opportunity to document verification procedures in various aspects of the timber supply chain. A feedback session with stakeholders at the end of the visit revealed improvements in dialogue between the government and Vietnamese NGOs. A second field visit is planned for November to fill some remaining gaps in understanding of timber supply chains, field and document verification and customs procedures.

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Cross-cutting issues:


Lacey Act

Australia’s House of Representatives passes Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill

Legislation to outlaw the importation of illegally logged timber into Australia has been passed in the federal House of Representatives. The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2012, the accompanying explanatory memorandum and minor government amendments passed through the Australian Parliament House of Representatives on 20 August. The Bill restricts the importation and sale of illegally logged timber in Australia by prohibiting the import of timber products containing illegally logged timber and the processing of domestically grown raw logs that were illegally logged, and by requiring importers of regulated timber products and processors of raw logs to fulfil due diligence requirements. The Bill also establishes comprehensive monitoring and investigation powers to enforce these requirements. 

The Bill will need to pass through the Senate and receive Royal Assent before becoming law. More information can be found on the website of Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The USA enforces the Lacey Act in the Gibson Guitar case

US guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar has entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with the US Department of Justice. The company allegedly violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India. More information.


EU Timber Regulation Implementing Regulation adopted

The Implementing Regulation to the EU Timber Regulation was adopted on 6 July. This regulation lays down detailed rules concerning the due diligence system and the frequency and nature of the checks on monitoring organisations. The text of the Implementing Regulation can be accessed here.


EU Timber Regulation information event held at French industry exhibition

An information event on the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT licensed timber took place during the French timber industry exhibition, ‘Carrefour International du Bois’, held in Nantes from 6 to 8 June. Timber importers, traders and end users participated in lively question-and-answer sessions led by timber association leaders and officials from the French Ministry of Agriculture.

The presentations and discussions provided information about legislation that prohibits the placement of illegally logged timber on the EU market. Presenters also described the benefits of FLEGT licensed timber, which will be imported from countries that have entered into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU. The joint communication effort was supported by the L’Association technique internationale des bois tropicaux (ATIBT), the EFI, the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF), Le Commerce du Bois and the French Ministry of Agriculture. The EU Timber Regulation will come into force in March 2013. See the full article.


FLEGT meetings in Japan

From 25 to 29 June, a series of FLEGT-related meetings took place in Tokyo and Kyoto. The meetings were used to gather input from Japan in preparation for regional activities. The meetings provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the EU FLEGT Action Plan and to look for ways to increase coherence between EU and Japanese illegal logging policies. Attendees at the meetings included the EU Delegation to Japan and representatives of government agencies, NGOs, the private sector and universities.


Stakeholder consultation workshop in Vientiane, Lao PDR

The Department of Forest Resource Management (DFRM) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) in Lao PDR has launched a participatory revision process of the country’s Forestry Law. The Forestry Law Revision Committee held a stakeholder consultation workshop on 21 August. The goals of the workshop were to obtain feedback on the key issues, gaps and inconsistencies identified by stakeholders during the implementation of the Forestry Law; to obtain specific recommendations for addressing the issues by amending existing provisions or inserting new provisions; and to ensure consistency with existing or evolving extra-sectoral legislation and supporting forestry legislation.

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FLEGT-REDD Linkages:


Workshop REDD

Forest governance and links between FLEGT and REDD+


Experts from EFI’s EU REDD and EU FLEGT Facilities discussed interactions between the two forest governance processes for the Forest Sector Support Partnership newsletter issued by Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Several developing countries, including Vietnam, are engaged both in REDD+ preparation and in negotiation or implementation of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement as part of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. These two initiatives face common challenges and can, if properly designed, support improved forest governance. Further information and full article by Van Orshoven et al. are on page 15 of the following report.

Workshop on sustainable forest management held in the Democratic Republic of Congo


Two NGOs in the Democratic Republic of Congo organised a workshop titled ‘How to efficiently contribute to sustainable forest management in the Democratic Republic of Congo?’. The workshop was held in the capital Kinshasa on 19–20 June. Participants discussed the country’s national strategy for REDD+ and its negotiations for a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).

The two NGOs hosting the event were World Wide Fund for Nature DR Congo (WWF) and the national environmental group Cercle pour la defense de l’environnement (CEDEN), with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). Participants included REDD+ and FLEGT experts from the government, civil society and the private sector.

The resulting recommendations emphasised the common interests of everyone working on REDD+ and FLEGT VPA processes:

• Transparency and information are needed in the forestry sector.
• Civil society and the private sector are valued stakeholders.
• Shared understanding of these two processes among experts and practitioners will benefit both groups.

Follow-up activities are to be defined.

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Publications, upcoming events, news, open positions and calls for tender:



New EFI publication summarises progress on the FLEGT Action Plan


In late 2010, the EC and EU Member States reviewed the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The ensuing report identifies key observations for the period 2003–2010. This eight-page briefing summarises that report, describing progress made and challenges encountered. It also charts the changing environment as implementation continues. Download the briefing.


FAQs on EU Timber Regulation published

EFI has published two new sets of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the EU Timber Regulation. The first set of FAQs focuses on the role of certification when performing due diligence and the enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation. The second set of FAQs focuses on questions regarding imports and exports. The full list of questions and answers is also available on the website and will be updated regularly.


Baseline Studies for the Philippines and Singapore published

As part of EFI’s information collection role, a number of forest governance, markets and trade Baseline Studies have been carried out in the Asia region. The Baseline Studies for Singapore and the Philippines are available online now. These follow earlier Baseline Studies covering China, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste and Vietnam.


New study looks at potential impacts of FLEGT on the Bolivian timber sector

The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) developed an inventory of current activities on FLEGT in Bolivia to contribute to a growing awareness among key Bolivian stakeholders on FLEGT and its implications for the local timber industry. This study describes progress made and challenges encountered.


The CBI Policy Intelligence study was done in coordination with the Chamber of Exporters of Santa Cruz (CADEX) and the Timber Task Force (TTF) in Bolivia in order to answer to the need in the Bolivian timber sector for more clarification on the new EU Timber Regulation, which will come into force in March 2013, and its implications for Bolivian timber exports to the EU market.


A team of consultants implemented a desk study and a field mission. Both in Bolivia and in the EU several companies that trade Bolivian timber, and other relevant stakeholders in the sector, were interviewed. Download the study in English and in Spanish.


Sustainable Community Forest Management: A Practical Guide to FSC Group Certification for Smallholder Agroforests

The Forest Trust has made a new how-to guide available. The guide encourages communities to launch sustainable forest businesses and to build capacity on the ground by giving them tools to provide responsibly sourced wood products to the world's markets. Download the handbook.


Upcoming events

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9 October – Conference: Guardians of the forests?

Illegal logging costs developing countries US$15 billion in lost revenues each year, according to the World Bank, and has helped to fund national and regional conflicts. In March 2013, the EU Timber Regulation will place restrictions on timber legally allowed to enter the EU. This timely conference, titled ‘Guardians of the Forests’, to be held in Brussels on 9 October, will examine the 10-year history of the EU FLEGT Action Plan, and explore any lessons for the future. EU FLEGT has emerged as a uniquely inclusive, innovative approach to protecting forests and the livelihoods of the people who use them. More information.


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23 October – FAO-EFI workshop: ‘Experiences from the FLEGT/VPA process in West and Central Africa’


FAO, the Ghana Forestry Commission, the EFI and theIDLgroup are jointly organising a workshop to exchange and compile experiences and lessons learned through recent years of FLEGT support and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) implementation in West and Central Africa. The workshop will involve experts and practitioners from eight countries currently implementing VPAs and provide a forum for sharing results, successes and challenges encountered, with the goal of designing improved implementation strategies for the future. The workshop will be held in Accra from 23 to 25 October. For more information, contact Ms Sophie Lemaitre, ACP-FLEGT Programme.


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Join the FLEGT Group in the community

Become a member of capacity4dev, the online community for development practitioners, and apply for membership of the FLEGT Group to start contributing and sharing your own knowledge and experience about FLEGT. The aim of the FLEGT Group is to improve coordination on FLEGT policy implementation, share information about FLEGT events around the world and facilitate easy and decentralised knowledge sharing. The group targets staff of the EC and European External Action Service (EEAS), EU Member States and FLEGT specialists, as well as partner organisations and governments and beneficiaries of FLEGT-related projects.


Once you’ve joined the group, you can share information about upcoming events, blog about FLEGT-related topics and contact FLEGT colleagues.

Open positions

EFI is looking for two experts for its EU FLEGT&REDD Facility

Interested candidates are requested to apply online by 5 October 2012. If you cannot apply online, please send your application to the Human Resources Office:

More info on open posts and selection procedures


Calls for tender

EFI is planning to award a contract for the assignment ‘Extension de l’Assistance Technique a la mise en œuvre de l’APV FLEGT auprès de la République du Congo’. The invitation to tender and the full Tender Specifications for this procurement process are available at the EFI website.

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Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme:


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EU FAO FLEGT Programme – first call for proposals


FAO is announcing the first call for proposals under the new EU FAO FLEGT Programme. The call is open to eligible developing countries not currently negotiating or implementing a Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Building on the success of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Island FLEGT Support Programme, FAO and the EC are continuing to work together to improve global Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade through a new programme called the EU FAO FLEGT Programme. The new programme has been extended to cover FLEGT needs in Asia and Latin America. The four-year programme was initiated in May 2012 and will fund projects and information services that address FLEGT issues. See the programme website for more information about the call for proposals.

Kenya – East African Wild Life Society


In June, the East African Wild Life Society in partnership with the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum completed a study that describes the challenges associated with illegal timber flows at three border points between Kenya and Tanzania. Illegal timber imported into Kenya from Tanzania and Malawi is contributing to estimated losses of US$8.5 million each year. This is attributed to lack of transparency and accountability, weak coordination among responsible authorities, corruption, conflicting laws and weak law enforcement and compliance. Recommendations for addressing this issue including developing a Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya and Tanzania and a system for monitoring the trade in illegal wood and wood products across the Kenya–Tanzania border. The report is available through the ACP-FLEGT website.


Ghana – Supporting civil society participation in wood-tracking systems


The Resource Management Support Centre (RMSC) of the Forestry Commission in Ghana, in collaboration with civil society organisations and the National Forestry Forum–Ghana have developed modalities to integrate community civil society organisations into the national wood-tracking systems under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Parts of the project completed include awareness-raising activities at the community level and the establishment and approval of protocols for participation. The project has resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding recognising the roles of the Forestry Commission and civil society in independent monitoring of wood-tracking operations. The RMSC is currently working on a handbook on participatory roles.


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Belize – Strengthening law enforcement in national forests


Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), a civil society organisation in Belize, is working to strengthen law enforcement in the Chiquibul National Forest, which has long been known as the jewel of Belize thanks to its rich timber resources and biodiversity. According to FCD, the illegal logging network (Belize and Guatemala) in the forest is worth approximately US$8 million. FCD has initiated a collaborative effort between government law enforcement agencies, park personnel and the Belize Defence Force to conduct joint patrols. In the meantime, FCD is completing an illegal logging assessment to inform dialogue with Belize and Guatemalan forest managers to address the illegal logging challenges.


Liberia – Communities learn to monitor their forest resources


Green Advocates International has trained an additional 50 community members from eight counties in Liberia in using the Global Positioning System and digital photography technology to better document and map illegal forest use. The maps generated are then used in efforts to improve forest law enforcement and compliance with concession agreements. The project will continue until the end of 2012, at which time an evaluation of the results will inform next steps.


Uganda – WWF and CARE receive support under the FLEGT process


WWF and CARE International are receiving support under the ACP-FLEGT programme to undertake research and awareness-raising activities in Uganda. The WWF Uganda Country Office recently completed a study of the legal and illegal timber trade in and through Uganda. The study found that more than 80% of the timber in Uganda’s domestic market is likely from illegal sources and could be resulting in revenue losses to the extent of US$87 million each year. The study proposes measures for more sustainable management of timber harvesting and trade, improved chain of custody systems and practical FLEGT models for Uganda.

CARE International in Uganda in collaboration with WWF Uganda has undertaken studies seeking to understand bottlenecks in compliance with the chain of custody. This is in addition to CARE International’s ongoing examination of domestic factors at the local government level that affect the completeness of the chain of custody. Efforts have been made to understand practices and align the chain of custody across the three local governments of Kyegegwa, Mubende and Kyenjojo.



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