Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, March/April 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.

FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements (VPAs) - News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs - News from Asia
FLEGT VPAs - News from Central and South America
FLEGT and Cross-cutting Issues - Research agenda - Meeting Reports
FLEGT Updates - News in the media - Publications - Upcoming meetings
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme

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


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

Central African Republic (CAR):

Following the conclusion of negotiations of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement in December 2010, the Central African Republic is currently setting up implementation structures that aim to ensure that different stakeholder groups and technical experts can work together systematically during the next phase. The organisational work is based on a detailed six month work plan that was developed by the Central African team in late 2010.


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

The first official VPA negotiation session between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the European Union took place on 15-17 February in Kinshasa. The Congolese team consisted of more than 30 members, including representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations and a number of different Ministries. During the session the Parties created a road map outlining a tentative schedule for negotiation and highlighting the different VPA elements to be discussed. DRC is currently working on a draft definition of legal timber and timber products which will be discussed in a video conference in May. In addition, possible areas for coordination between the FLEGT and REDD processes in the country are currently being identified.



Gabon, a VPA partner country in the negotiation phase, has recently been working on drafts of their Legality Definition. This process involves different stakeholder groups, including government agencies, concession holders, and national NGOs. Several video conferences with the European Union have already taken place on the subject. A VPA technical session with the Gabonese and EU negotiation teams is scheduled for early April in Libreville. In conjunction with this meeting, EU representatives along with Gabonese counterparts, will go to the field and visit a variety of forest concessions, district forest offices and sawmill operations, and learn about activities undertaken in the port. The aims of the field trips are to better understand the systems that are currently in place and to identify opportunities and challenges for Gabon’s VPA.


The Ghanaian Government is undertaking an independent review of the traceability system, which they have piloted over the past few years with the IT firm Helveta. Depending on the results of this review, the planned national roll out should commence later this year. Furthermore a new Timber Verification Department has been established and procedures are being developed for verification of legal compliance. A legal reform process is underway and policy formulation process has been initiated to recast the regulation of the domestic market.


Liberia is currently preparing for the conclusion of VPA negotiations with the EU with a plan to initial an Agreement on 9 May in Monrovia. Negotiations took place mid March in Brussels, to discuss the text of the Agreement and associated Annexes, in particular outlining the envisaged Legality Assurance System, the independent audit, transparency measures, planned reforms for regulating the domestic market (e.g. pit-sawing regulations) and the envisaged roll out of community forestry as reflected in the VPA Legality Definition. As part of the negotiation process, a field test of Liberia’s Legality Definition was commissioned by EFI and undertaken by TFT. The group tested each indicator, verifier and legal reference to ensure its practical applicability and identify any possible problems. The results of this assessment were also discussed during the latest meeting. The session concluded with a rough outline of a plan for implementation which will be further elaborated by the Liberia side over the coming month.


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FLEGT VPAs - News from Asia:


Indonesia, one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber, and the EU are expected to initial a VPA in early May. It would be the first Asian country to conclude VPA negotiations. In January and February, both Parties held two Joint Indonesia-EU Experts Meetings to work on a number of policy commitments, to be included in the Agreement as Annexes. The work focused particularly on the Annexes which describe the national Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and public disclosure provisions. The outcomes of the two sessions were discussed and further developed in a meeting of the Technical Working Group on 16-17 February in Jakarta. A final negotiation session is planned for April, to be held in Brussels.


Following the opening of VPA negotiations in November, FLEGT partners have jointly commissioned three analytical studies from national research teams:

• 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 studies are designed to inform the ongoing negotiation process and should be completed by June. In addition, a national multi-stakeholder dialogue will be established to discuss the results of the studies and to support VPA negotiations between the EU and Vietnam.


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FLEGT VPAs - News from Central and South America:


The Honduran Forest Institute (ICF), with support from the EU, organised two seminars in early April in the national capital Tegucigalpa, and in La Ceiba - in the main hardwood-producing region. The objectives were to provide information to a wide range of Honduran stakeholders, who have expressed interest in better understanding FLEGT issues, and to initiate discussion amongst them on the advantages and disadvantages of a potential VPA process in Honduras. 


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

Governance research agenda in the context of FLEGT and REDD:

A forest governance research agenda in the context of FLEGT and REDD is currently developed on behalf of the EU. The objective is to identify and prioritise research topics in the domain of forest governance and to guide donors on how to invest funds. As project coordinator, EFI with its partners has developed an online survey and would like to invite you to contribute your ideas. You can register and submit your comments in April. 

The Final Report of the 6th FLEGT Annual Coordination meeting available

The final report of the 6th FLEGT Annual Coordination meeting, 12-14 January 2011, is now available. You can download the report and the handbook online. The reports are being translated into French and Spanish, and the translations should be available by the end of April.


EU Timber Regulation stakeholder meetings, Brussels:

The European Forest Institute in partnership with the University of Padua and INDUFOR is carrying out a study for the European Commission to provide inputs for the development of secondary legislation foreseen in the EU Timber Regulation. As part of the study, stakeholder meetings were organised in Brussels in March and April to discuss "due diligence systems" and "monitoring organisations" as set out in the Regulation.

USA and EU joint briefings and awareness-raising activities in Asia:

A series of US – EU briefings and awareness-raising events were held in the region, outlining the implications of the new market requirements for timber products in the USA and EU. The events included detailed Q&A sessions for industry representatives and other participants.

The series started on 7 March in Bangkok, Thailand with an event for the Thai Furniture industry. Following that, there were two parallel events on 10 March, one in Jakarta, Indonesia and another in Vientiane, Laos PDR.

In Jakarta, the US Ambassador, the Head of the EU Delegation and a representative from the Japanese Embassy spoke about the new market requirements in their respective markets and the Indonesian Ministers of Forestry and Trade described Indonesia’s timber trade. In addition, the largest timber exporting associations expressed their commitment to Indonesia’s timber tracking system, the SVLK.

In Vientiane, the Director-General of the Department of Import and Export opened the workshop, which was attended by about 50 representatives of government, regional environmental and development agencies, civil society, industry, academia and certification support entities.

Subsequent events were held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 13 March, and Samarinda, Indonesia on 14 March.

EU-China BCM related talks in Beijing:

The EFI FLEGT Asia team had meetings with the Chinese Academy of Forestry’s Centre for International Forest Products Trade and the Renmin University in Beijing on 24 February, to discuss joint activities under the EU-China Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM). Issues under discussion included:

1. Green Public Procurement,
2. Awareness Raising and Training,
3. Timber Tracing and Tracking,
4. a Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) impact study,
5. a B2B approach to the EU Timber Regulation and
6. a Clearing House Mechanism for Chinese stakeholders related to the EU market.

Project proposals for the Green Public Procurement and Awareness Raising and Training activities can now be finalised. Subsequently, TOR will be drafted after which the projects can be contracted. The Baseline Study for China, which provides an overview of forest governance, markets and trade, can now be translated and disseminated.

Conference on The Law on Customary Lands, Territories & Resources Rights, Kuala Lumpur:

The event was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 25-26 January. It was co-organised by the EFI FLEGT Asia programme in collaboration with the Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies (CMIS) and Centre for Legal Pluralism and Indigenous Law, Universiti Malaya, the Malaysian Bar Council and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). The conference brought together national and international experts to examine existing laws on land, forestry and access to resources in relation to indigenous people’s land and resource rights. The experience of various speakers on strategies for dispute resolutions methods and adjudication were shared. A report of the conference identifying options for solving policy and practical challenges associated with customary lands and land use rights will be submitted to the Malaysian Minister of Natural Resource & Environment.

FLEGT briefing for Chinese wooden door industry, Beijing:

In conjunction with the 10th China International Door Industry Exhibition, the First Low Carbon Economy and Sustainable Management of Forestry Industry Symposium took place in Beijing on 8 March. The event was co-organized by China Forest Product Industry Association, China Construction Material Association and China Construction Decoration Association. The event was attended by representatives of an estimated 40% of China’s door manufacturing companies and a number of Ministers and other high-level officials from the Chinese Government. The new EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT/VPAs were explained.

International Seminar on Challenges of SFM, Tokyo:

The seminar, held on 8-10 March, was a country-led initiative by Japan and Indonesia under the United Nations Forum on Forests to mark the Year of the Forests. It was co-organised by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and the Forest Europe and Montreal Process with support from UNFF Secretariat. The objective of the seminar was to provide an overview of the international trends related to sustainable forest management (SFM) since the Rio Conference (UNCED). The participants reviewed the development and implementation of a range of policy tools and instruments introduced for the practice of SFM and shared experiences and lessons learned. They also discussed policy tools and instruments for emerging issues such as REDD+ and biodiversity conservation and looked into the related challenges and opportunities ahead. During this seminar, legality verification requirements in the EU market were presented.


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FLEGT Updates - News in the media - Publications - Upcoming meetings:

News in the media:

Afrique Avenir reports about 72 exploitants forestiers interdits d’activités au Cameroun on 3 March 2011, followed by writing Cameroon: A Long Awaited Sledgehammer on 6 March 2011


Jakarta Post reports EU, Indonesia ready to sign timber trade agreement on 24 February 2011, which has been picked up by the Timber Trades Journal (TTJ), entitled Indonesia close to EU timber export deal


InvestorPoint publishes a Xinhua News Agency release saying Indonesia, EU expect new deal on timber trade in 3 months on 23 February 2011

Business Green reports on Congo to cut down illegal felling with timber tracking technology on 18 February 2011


The EU Timber Regulation and a leaflet about the new legislation, published by the European Commission DG Environment, have been translated to Chinese and Thai. The versions can be found here: Regulation in Chinese, leaflet in Chinese, Regulation in Thai and leaflet in Thai. Translations of these documents are also in process for Khmer, Vietnamese, Lao and Bahasa Indonesia.

Upcoming meetings:

Chatham House’s 18th illegal logging stakeholder update meeting will take place on 20–21 June 2011. If you have any suggestions for topics or speakers please contact Alison Hoare. Registration will open in a month’s time, and further details of the meeting will be posted on the illegal logging website as these become available.


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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme:

Analysis of forest regulations and capacity building for Gabonese civil society :FAOsmalllogo1.jpg : 4.40625Kb

The first phase of the project, implemented by BrainForest in Gabon and entitled ''Analysis of forest regulations, required capacity building for Gabonese civil society and mobilization to implement aspects of the EU FLEGT Action Plan'' is about to end. After a year of activity, the project has achieved significant results recognized by all stakeholders of the Gabonese forestry sector. Thanks to this project, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Gabonese forestry sector regulatory framework was completed. This analysis will be useful when developing the definition of legality for the Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiations that began between Gabon and the EU on September, 23 2010. Given the success of this project, the FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme has decided to fund a second phase, which will focus on strengthening the role of the civil society for the observation, monitoring and collect of information on forestry infractions. For more information, please visit this site.


State of FLEGT knowledge and initiatives in ACP countries:

The State of FLEGT Knowledge and Initiatives in African, Caribbean and the Pacific Group of States is a rapid assessment of the status of selected ACP countries to implement aspects of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The report highlights country approaches to forest law enforcement, forest governance and timber trade and makes recommendations for thematic-based actions that could be applied in each ACP sub-region. There are 79 countries in the six ACP sub-regions. A subset of 27 countries was selected on the basis of the relative contribution of the forest sector to GDP, overall timber production and exports, the volume of logs shipped to the European Union, and the level of interest in the FLEGT Action Plan and in negotiating a VPA. The complete document is available here.



FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme announced fourth call for proposals:

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ACP-FLEGT Support Programme has announced its fourth 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 20 May 2010.
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 European Union (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 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