Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, May/June 2011
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 and Mission Reports
FLEGT Updates: News in the Media – Upcoming meetings - Publications - Other
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):
After initialling a VPA in December, the Central African Republic is now engaged in implementation activities, in parallel with the ratification process, which include the establishment of structures such as the Technical Secretariat (Secretariat technique permanent), in charge of coordinating the development of a national Timber Legality Assurance system and the national multi-stakeholder committee to oversee the full scope of implementation activities. The Central Africans have developed a detailed rolling six-month work plan which they will update quarterly. Two EFI experts travelled to Bangui in March to discuss progress on VPA implementation with the Central African team. Forthcoming VPA activities include the piloting of a national timber legality and supply chain control system, funded by the EU.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):
Following the last negotiation session between DRC and the European Union, which took place in February in Kinshasa, the Congolese negotiation team has established several sub-committees which are working on the development of the principles of the Congolese Legality Definition. A video conference is scheduled for June to discuss a draft Legality Definition and progress with development of the national timber tracking system.
Gabon is currently developing a national Legality Definition, which outlines the requirements that must be followed to ensure legal compliance. The Definition is being developed through multi-stakeholder dialogue, receiving input from different government agencies, the private sector, civil society and communities. Several technical sessions have also been devoted to the topic. In addition, the multi-stakeholder dialogue is discussing the scope of products to be covered by the VPA and beginning to describe the traceability requirements for their national Legality Assurance System. A negotiation session is expected to take place in the next three months to make further progress with these issues.
The lead VPA negotiators Florence Chenoweth, Minister in charge of Forestry and Agriculture in Liberia and Lluis Riera, Director in DG Development Cooperation in the European Commission, initialled the Liberian Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Monrovia on 9 May. Liberia is the sixth country to conclude VPA negotiations with the EU after Ghana, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Indonesia. The negotiations started in March 2009. Liberia already has a national wood traceability system in place, which will be further developed to meet the more comprehensive requirements outlined in their VPA commitment. According to the Liberian VPA implementation plan, Liberia is expecting that the system can be fully operational and issuing FLEGT licenses by 2014. From that point, only FLEGT-licensed timber will be exported from Liberia. Liberia also plans to issue licenses for wood products in its domestic sector, which will be phased in later.
For further information, see the Liberia VPA Briefing Note and the Press Release on the initialling of the Agreement.
FLEGT VPAs - News from Asia:
The European Union and the Government of Indonesia concluded their negotiations and announced the first Asian FLEGT VPA on 4 May in Jakarta. A Joint Statement welcoming the agreement and endorsing mechanisms to prepare for implementation in parallel with the formal ratification process was issued by the Indonesian Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, and the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht. The leadership of the EU and the Government of Indonesia linked the implementation of a new Indonesian system for ensuring that timber has been legally-harvested to the recent legislation that will prohibit the importation into the EU of illegal timber and timber products. The formal process of signature and ratification by both sides now starts and is expected to take about nine months. A statement by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, on the conclusion of negotiations can be found here.
To inform the public about the first Asian VPA, representatives of Indonesia and the European Union published an Indonesia VPA Briefing Note in English and in Indonesian.
The VPA initiallings in Liberia and in Indonesia received extensive global news coverage in at least 25 countries and 12 languages.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the EC organized a videoconference in April to discuss the progress of three analytical studies commissioned by EFI to inform the ongoing VPA negotiation process. The first draft of a stakeholder analysis, exploring mechanisms for the engagement of stakeholder groups in the VPA negotiation process, is currently under development and should be made available for comments towards the end of June. The report will also be discussed in a multi-stakeholder dialogue which will be opened by a national workshop, scheduled for July. Another video conference is scheduled for June 16 to discuss further progress with the studies, as well as results from a recent EFI mission to Vietnam to assist the FLEGT Facilitator in her support to the study teams.
FLEGT VPAs - News from Central and South America:
Regional Central America
The Technical Committee on Forests and the Technical Committee on Protected Areas of the Central American Integration System held a meeting in Guatemala City 3-4 May to follow up on the forest agenda in the framework of the International Year of the Forest. FLEGT presentation was made to the various participants, including representatives of forest and environmental institutions of countries’ members of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development. More information (in Spanish) can be found here.
The Honduran Forest Institute (ICF), with support from the EU, organized two seminars in early April in the national capital Tegucigalpa, and in La Ceiba. There was a high level of participation to both events, each attended by more than 100 people, including participants from the public sector, the private sector and civil society. 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. The workshops were opened and attended in part by the Minister-Director of the ICF. A DG Environment representative, an EFI expert and members of the European and American civil society also attended the events. Both workshops followed the same format and had presentations on FLEGT VPAs, the EU Timber Regulation, the EU civil society perspective on FLEGT, the US Lacey Act, the Honduras Strategy to Combat Illegal Logging, and Experiences of timber tracking in Honduras. The presentations were followed by group work to respond to some general questions.
The initial reaction of Honduras officials was favorable. FLEGT contact points will be assigned in key ministries and further stakeholder consultation should take place in the coming months.
FLEGT and cross-cutting issues: Research Agenda – Meeting and Mission Reports:
The development of the Forest Governance Research Agenda is advancing well. A web-based stakeholder consultation was held in April and May to identify and prioritize research questions. The aim is that the final agenda should identify issues pertinent to FLEGT and REDD within the wider context of forest governance. By the survey deadline, some 280 people had contributed ideas. A team of experts is now consolidating these inputs into a draft agenda, which will be available for comment by the end of June.
FLEGT briefing mission to New Zealand:
A FLEGT briefing mission to New Zealand was undertaken by EFI and a UK representative from 28 April to 4 May. The goal of the mission was to understand NZ’s approach to the illegal logging issue, discuss the FLEGT developments in the EU and Asia Pacific region, and further develop and strengthen links with relevant stakeholders.
Several briefings and meetings took place, with, amongst others, key officials of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry (MAF), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and the NZ Tropical Timber Importers Group (NZITTG). A presentation on the FLEGT Action Plan was given during a conference in Auckland, organised by the Australia and New Zealand Institutes of Forestry (ANZIF) on 2 May, in addition to numerous side meetings with key participants, including the NZ Minister of MAF.
In New Zealand forestry is the third largest contributor to GDP after tourism and dairy products. The two largest export markets for forest products are China and Australia. There is some internal debate on whether New Zealand should propose legislation to prevent the import of illegal timber but the current government position does not appear to favour such an approach. Nevertheless New Zealand will be carefully watching developments concerning draft legislation addressing illegal logging and related trade put forward in Australia.
The 4th Potomac Forum on Illegal Logging in Washington DC, US
Mr Hugo-Maria Schally of DG Environment made a presentation on FLEGT and the new EU Timber Regulation at a meeting of the 4th Potomac Forum on Illegal Logging in Washington DC, US on 4th May. This 4th meeting focused on the lessons learned during the more than 2 years since the U.S. Lacey Act was amended in 2008, and new information on the EU Timber Regulation which was passed in late 2010 and set to come into force in early 2013.
Regional Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) follow-up and mapping of VPA ambitions in the Mekong
A mission to follow-up on regional TLAS and VPA work in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand took place in March. The mission followed an initial regional ASEAN-FLEGT training workshop that was held in November 2010, the outcomes of which can be found here.
The mission was used to get a better perspective of current in-country TLAS work and to gain insight into the FLEGT ambitions of the different countries in the region. It was planned and undertaken in close collaboration with the EU Delegations. One of the outcomes was that a follow-up regional TLAS training event will be held in Sabah, Malaysia at the end of this year.
Workshop on community forestry in Myanmar
A representative of EFI’s FLEGT Asia team attended a workshop on community forestry organised by the Ecosystem Conservation & Community Development Initiative (ECCDI)-Myanmar on 21-22 March in Yangoon, Myanmar. The Workshop brought together about 60 stakeholders from a range of backgrounds, including national authorities, donor agencies (UNDP, UK DFID, SIDA), regional organizations (ASEAN, RECOFTC), academics, forestry institutions and international/national NGOs. The main sponsor was the Pyoepin programme funded by UK DFID. The workshop was held to review the first fifteen years implementation of the national Community Forestry programme, which has a Forestry Department target of achieving 1,500,000 acres (607,287 ha) by 2030.
The regional agencies and invited experts shared their experience of participatory forestry development in countries in the region and inputs were provided to the ECCDI’s comprehensive appraisal of the performance of the Pyoepin programme. These will be integrated into a national briefing paper to be submitted to the government, aimed at enhancing the development of community forestry in Myanmar.
Legality training workshop series in China
From 25 April to 5 May, TRAFFIC, WWF GFTN, China Timber and Wood Product Distribution Association and Chinawood International organised a series of legality training workshops in 4 cities in China which were selected as key manufacturing and commercial hubs for timber. This is a second round of training in China, focusing on the US Lacey Act and EU Timber Regulation, sponsored by the USAID, TNC RAFT and the European Union. The workshops held in Dongguan, Shanghai, Dalian and Suifenhe attracted sizeable numbers of timber industry players.
The agendas included briefings and guidance on the practical implications of new legality requirements in the US, EU and other important consumer markets for the Chinese timber industry. The open discussion sessions included interesting questions, especially on exemptions to the legislation, penalties to be imposed and how to ensure compliance.
FLEGT Updates: News in the Media – Upcoming meetings - Publications - Other:
News in the media:
Reuters reported on sustainable consumption in China. The advertising and marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather conducted a survey on sustainable consumption in China, collecting the opinions of 1,300 Chinese consumers across the country. Even though convenience is still key in purchasing decisions, 71% of the respondents indicated that they are willing to pay slightly more for certain ’green‘ products. In addition, more than 90% of the participants felt that the sustainability movement in China is growing. More information on the results of this study can be found here.
"Forests, Markets, Policy & Practice" International Conference and Technical Workshops will take place in Shanghai 22-23 June 2011. The International Conference and series of Technical Workshops is an annual event devoted to promoting good forest management, processing and responsible timber trade practices in China and globally. Every year the conference brings together policy-makers, business leaders, environmental groups and scholars to discuss market trends and emerging policies which impact on the forest products industry, aiming to identify opportunities for moving the forest sector towards sustainable growth.
This year’s event will focus on:
• Synthesis and Comparison of Forest Management and Trade Policies in China and Major Consuming Countries
• Global Forest Products Markets: Trends and Perspectives
• Practices, Challenges and Solutions in the Forest Sector: Case Studies
• What is Forest Industry’s Sustainable Future? A face-to-face dialogue between policy-makers and business leaders
The conference is supported by the International Forestry Cooperation Center (IFCC) and Center for International Forest Products Trade (CINFT) of the Chinese State Forestry Administration. It is co-organized by EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Regional Support Programme, the USAID-funded Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) Program, Rainforest Alliance, the Chinese Academy of Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, WWF GFTN and The Forest Trust.
To register for the conference click here. More information can be found here.
The 7th Congress on Central American Forests “The Forest without Border for All and for the Common Good” will take place in Nicaragua, Managua from 29 June to 1 July. The main objective of that event is to highlight the strategic importance of forest ecosystems for the conservation of biodiversity and the socioeconomic and cultural development of Central America. An EFI staff member will present the EU FLEGT initiative at this Congress. Registration and more information (in Spanish) can be found here.
The RACEWOOD 2011 meeting will be held in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo on 29 - 30 September. The RACEWOOD meetings promote partnerships between European timber importers and African producers of tropical wood. This is the major event for the timber industry in Africa. More information, including registration forms, practical information, accommodation and flights, can be found on the RACEWOOD website.
The EU has formally signed and ratified FLEGT VPAs with Cameroon and with the Republic of Congo. The Agreements are available online: Cameroon and ROC.
The FLEGT Action Plan progress report has been finalized. The full report can be accessed here. A summary of the report will be published this summer. It will also be available on the EU FLEGT portal.
The Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance was launched on 19-20 May at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance presented in this report is comprehensive analytical framework which facilitates efforts within and across countries to improve forest governance.
In February 2010, the European Union organized a coordination meeting on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome. At this meeting, participants representing key international forestry organizations identified the need to develop practical and workable forest governance indicators, and endorsed the idea of an international workshop on the topic. The Stockholm meeting on August 2010 introduced a draft framework, which was further developed by the group of experts between January and March 2011, in close coordination with the UN-REDD/Chatham House initiative for the development of draft guidance on how REDD+ governance safeguards could be monitored. EFI experts participated to the development of the framework.
The Framework can be used by anyone involved in forest governance. It can assist governmental and non-governmental actors interested in the characteristics and quality of forest governance in a particular country.
A new Swiss label for the origin of wood products has been launched. The certificate combines a geographic origin (Switzerland or Liechtenstein) with sustainability requirements. Products made from wood that is both harvested in Swiss forests and meets the sustainability requirements may obtain the certificate. Up to 20% of the wood may be of non-Swiss origin provided it meets a number of sustainability conditions. The new label ties in with the 2010 Swiss law on labelling of the origin of timber products at the point of sale.
The law, the Swiss Ordinance on the Declaration of Timber and Timber Products, entered into force on 1 October 2010. It requires retailers selling timber or wood products to Swiss consumers to provide information at the point of sale, on the species and country of harvest of the wood in the product. In a first stage the declaration requirement covers round wood, rough sawn wood and a limited number of solid wood products. More information on the new label can be found here. More information about the law can be found here.
Head of Unit FLEGT&REDD
The position of the Head of FLEGT & REDD Unit at EFI will soon be open and published here.
FLEGT Facilitator to Vietnam
EFI is looking for a FLEGT facilitator to support the implementation of the EU FLEGT VPA process in Vietnam. The focus will lie on providing support to the Government, the EU and stakeholders of Vietnam at each step of the FLEGT VPA process, from organizing consultations, supporting work of both negotiations teams and facilitating at country level all FLEGT related activities. The overall objective is to ensuring that exports of timber products to the EU are made of legally harvested timber, according to jointly agreed VPA requirements.
Interested candidates are requested to apply online or to send an application letter and CV by 30 June 2011 to Human Resources Office, EFI, email: flegt(at)efi.int. The full announcement can be found here.
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme:
The ACP-FLEGT Support Program is financing 9 projects in Cameroon with total financing of more than one million dollars. The projects are all related to the implementation of the VPA through actions developed on a wide range of themes and by a diverse group of actors from the forestry sector. The pilot projects involve: building the capacity of the Ministry of Forests and Finance; developing a training programme in the forestry school; preparing for FLEGT requirements in local forests, community forests and concessions; increasing involvement of village communities in the monitoring of forests; and improving clarity of cross-border flows administrative procedures in the COMIFAC. All these actions support Cameroon to have a legality assurance system operational by 2013. To avoid uncoordinated action, the ACP-FLEGT Support Program, in close collaboration with the EU Delegation and the GIZ, organized a meeting to discuss all the country-level FLEGT initiatives. The meeting, the first of its kind, offered the opportunity to exchange lessons learned between the projects and identify possible synergies.
Central African Republic
During the last FLEGT coordination meeting held in Brussels in January 2011, the ACP-FLEGT Support Program was requested by civil society representatives in the Central African Republic to support great project formulation and management capacity building for this stakeholder group. To respond positively to this request, the ACP-FLEGT Support Program organized a training on project cycle management from 28 March to 2 April, 2011 in Bangui. The training session was attended by over 30 participants from NGOs and government and who studied and discuss all the major stages of the project cycle: from the formulation of proposals to their implementation, as well as financial management, visibility, assessment, and reporting. Following its success, ACP-FLEGT intends to replicate it in other countries where the needs are as important as in Central African Republic.
ACP-FLEGT Support Programme – Signing ceremony in Democratic Republic of Congo
Since the launch of the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, 64 projects in 29 countries have been supported in their work to address FLEGT-related issues.
On 15 April 2011 a signature ceremony was organized to mark the start of the implementation phase of two new projects in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In total, six projects are being implemented with total funding of USD 467,800. These two new projects will aim to 1) strengthen capacities of civil society organizations to engage with the FLEGT VPA negotiation process and 2) improve legislation regarding cross-border relations between Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda.
ACP-FLEGT Support Program – Republic of Congo
The ACP-FLEGT Support Program finances three projects in the Republic of Congo, including one in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and Environment. This project aims to review the forest code and develop additional regulations that will facilitate the enactment of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement signed by the European Union and the Republic of Congo in 2009. The various regulations are currently being diagnosed and analyzed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing legal system.
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)fao.org for more information.
If you would like to submit information on EU FLEGT related activities or editorial comments please send them to info(at)euflegt.efi.int
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: http://www.euflegt.efi.int and http://www.efi.int/portal/projects/flegt/