Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, May/June 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 (VPAs): Central and South America
FLEGT VPAs – News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs – News from Asia
FLEGT Related Dialogue
FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues: Meeting Reports
FLEGT Updates: Publications – Upcoming events – News
Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme

FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs): Central and South America:



Honduras is the first country in the Americas to begin a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) negotiation process. “The forest is a treasure, but we must allow it to be used sustainably," said Minister Director Trinidad Suazo of Honduras in Brussels on 27 April.

Honduras and the European Union have agreed to start internal preparations for formal negotiation of a VPA. Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik met with Minister Director of the National Institute for Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF) José Trinidad Suazo Bulnes in Brussels on 27 April. The bilateral Agreement that the two parties hope to sign will ensure that timber and wood products exported to the EU will be verifiably legal according to Honduras’ statutes.

“FLEGT is a participatory process on a large scale. We organized three workshops to see if civil society, including indigenous communities and the private sector, had any interest in this process. We see real interest, not so much in the quantity of wood we export to Europe but rather in terms of image. When people see commercial timber from our forests, they think they see deforestation, and we want to change this image in the public eye.” said minister Trinidad Suazo.

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Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik meets with Minister Director of the National Institute for Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife José Trinidad Suazo Bulnes in Brussels on 27 April.


Guyana has entered into formal VPA negotiations with the EU. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs has responded positively to the March request from the Government of Guyana in which the country formally expressed its intention to join the FLEGT initiative. Guyana and the European Commission will soon start formal discussions and agree on the next steps.


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Africa:


Central African Republic (CAR) and Liberia

European Union has ratified the bilateral CAR–EU and Liberia–EU Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). On 15 May the EU Council took the decision to conclude the VPA with CAR and with Liberia, which the European Parliament had approved on 19 April. The VPAs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The CAR-EU VPA will enter into force when both parties have notified that they have achieved their own ratification process. Entry into force may start during summer this year.

The Liberia-EU VPA will enter into force once Liberia has also ratified the Agreement, which went to Liberia’s Parliament in April. However both CAR and Liberia have already started developing their VPA Legality Assurance Systems.

For more information on the scope and details of the bilateral VPAs, you can consult the CAR and Liberia VPA Briefing Notes.


The Republic of Congo

The completely renewed FLEGT VPA website of the Republic of Congo has been launched at  together with the new VPA FLEGT logo (APV FLEGT in French). ROC_APV-FLEGTlogo.png : 19.0087890625Kb 


The first bimonthly VPA-FLEGT newsletter has also been published (in French). The first issue focuses on the objectives of the Republic of Congo VPA, the VPA implementation process and key stakeholders. The newsletter aims to facilitate the flow of information between different stakeholders and encourage discussion on the VPA. It can also be used to diffuse information about future FLEGT related calls for proposals, key events and other relevant topics.

To subscribe to the newsletter, contact M. Taty, Director of Communications (Directeur de la communication et vulgarisation) of the forestry ministry, despresaurelientaty @


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Asia:



In April a Joint Expert Meeting (JEM) saw Vietnam present the latest draft Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and introduce the fifth draft of its Legality Definition (LD).

During the JEM Vietnam confirmed its intention for the TLAS to cover all markets - not just exports to the EU; furthermore the draft TLAS introduced the concept of risk management for verification of operators. A range of open issues were identified and discussed including land, labour, handling of confiscated timber, verification of imports, independent audit, the nature and role of the licensing agency and CSO participation.

The JEM resulted in an agreement to conduct a verification field visit to better understand the elements of timber product supply chains in Vietnam - operators and their procedures - and the different verification activities carried out by government agencies. The visit will involve a joint team from EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility and Vietnam, and will inform ongoing VPA negotiations. It is expected to take place in June.


In May a ninth VN-EU video conference involving lead negotiators (Mr. Ha Cong Tuan and Mr. Hugo-Maria Schally) resulted in both sides re-confirming their intention to conclude VPA negotiations before March 2013; and provided agreement on a revised roadmap to realise this undertaking. New activities added to the roadmap included, in June, a combined NGO training and consultation on the Legality Definition and, in July, participation of Vietnam in the 20th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation at Chatham House in London.


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FLEGT Related Dialogue:



On 28 February the Government of Lao PDR declared its interest in starting FLEGT VPA negotiations with the EU, through a letter signed by the three Ministers responsible for forestry and timber. During FLEGT week in Brussels in April, the Deputy Head of the Lao Delegation reiterated this intent. Following discussions between the European Commission and Lao in late April to plan for negotiations, Laos is now preparing for forthcoming talks. Bilateral discussions on the next steps to take as well as planning for the first negotiation session are ongoing.


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FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues: Meeting Reports:


FLEGT practitioners unpack VPAs during FLEGT Week

The European Commission organized the seventh Annual FLEGT Coordination Meeting, or FLEGT Week, on 23-27 April in Brussels, where FLEGT practitioners and forest governance experts joined staff of EU Delegations, private sector representatives and civil society groups to discuss progress on implementation of the FLEGT Action Plan, in particular in the countries where VPAs are in implementation or under negotiation. Please click here for more about the week’s events.

EC_Interactive_Worldmap_FLEGT_Projects_200.jpg : 38.923828125KbDuring the first two days, staff from EU delegations and EU Member State development agencies participating in a training event entitled “FLEGT: From Theory to Practice”. Staff of the European Commission and EU FLEGT Facility resource persons provided detailed information to colleagues on the FLEGT initiative and in particular on FLEGT VPA negotiation process, VPA implementation and the EU Timber Regulation.

The second half of the week provided an opportunity for almost 100 representatives from FLEGT-related projects and programmes from all over the world to be updated on recent developments and to share experiences and network. With so many projects on the ground, the Commission put together a useful interactive map of FLEGT projects. Browse the map here.

Technical workshop on China’s Timber Legality

A Technical Workshop on China’s Timber Legality was held on 23-24 May in Beijing, China.14_China_workshop_Wang Guangxin_EFI_small.jpg : 42.8876953125Kb The workshop was co-organized by the Centre for International Forest Products Trade of China’s State Forestry Administration (CINFT of SFA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The workshop gave participants a more systematic and deeper understanding of the timber legality requirements of major export markets and the effects these requirements have on Chinese companies who take steps to comply. Around 40 participants from Governments, NGOs, International Organisations, Forest Businesses and Research Institutions attended. EFI delivered a speech on “Elements, process, progress and challenges of FLEGT/VPA”.

3rd Sub-regional TLAS workshop to be held in early 2013 in collaboration with ASEAN

During the 11th Meeting of the Working Group on a Pan-ASEAN Timber Certification Initiative held on 22-23 May in Luang Prabang, Laos, EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding was mandated to conduct the 3rd Sub-regional TLAS workshop in early 2013 in collaboration with ASEAN Secretariat. This follows two earlier workshops held in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010 and Sabah, Malaysia in 2011. In addition, EFI was mandated to initiate a study looking into cooperation on customs between the different ASEAN Member States.

ITTO workshop on Timber Tracking Technologies

A workshop on timber tracking technologies was organized by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) with collaboration and co-funding from the Government of Japan, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), the Worldbank/Profor and EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding. The workshop took place on 15-17 May in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was attended by more than 70 people.

The objectives of the workshop were to share experiences in the application of timber tracking technologies for forest governance. The participants discussed how timber tracking could be of help in tackling illegal logging and trade in illegal timber, and how the technologies could be used by those hoping to comply with the requirements of instruments such as FLEGT and CITES. An agenda and review of the workshop can be found here.

Multistakeholder Consultation held in Malaysia

Special VPA Stakeholder consultations/briefings in Malaysia started in 2007, and between March and May this year three National-level stakeholder consultations were organized by the Malaysian government. On 26 April the 7th Multistakeholder Consultation was held in Kuala Lumpur. EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding supported the participation of a number of Malaysian stakeholders from civil society.

International Timber Tracking Technology Workshop held in Kuala Lumpur

Bioversity International organised an inception workshop for its’ Timber Tracking Technology Project (Identification of Tree Species & Geographic Origin) in Kuala Lumpur on 24-25 April. The project, which runs from November 2010 to December 2014, will facilitate the practical application of innovative timber tracking tools based on DNA and stable isotope markers. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

The Project aims to set up a coordination and networking facility among scientists, experts and institutions working on species identification, as well as to: 

  • Develop accepted guidelines for genetic and stable isotope fingerprinting
  • Elaborate on accreditation systems for private and public labs willing to work in the field
  • Determine a list of priority timber species 
  • Develop an online database with geo-referenced data on genetic structure and stable isotopes f selected timber species and a data sharing agreement.

The ultimate objective is to create a Global Timber Tracking Network (GTTN), which will be a global online database featuring genetic and stable isotope markers for commonly-traded timber species. This tool would complement existing mechanisms for timber tracking. The GTTN database will allow importers to verify the precise species and geographic origin of timber and timber products.

International Conference on Forestry and the Green Economy held in Beijing

The conference, held on 19-20 April, was organized by the International Forestry Cooperation Center of State Forestry Administration (SFA), China, Forestry Economics and the Development Research Center of SFA and the World Forestry Economics Commission, the China Society of Forestry Economics and co-sponsored by a number of international organisations.

Around 160 participants from Governments, NGOs, International Organisations and Universities of fourteen countries attended the conference. The different speakers gave their views on Forestry and the Green Economy and shared lessons drawn from field cases around the world. Mr. Arnaud Brizay from the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section delivered a speech on “The European Forest Sector in a Green Economy” and Dr. Promode Kant, the Director of Institute of Green Economy, New Delhi, India, on “The Practice of Green Economy in India”.

Japanese Trade Developments Seminar

On 23 March the “New International Developments in the Trade in Legal Timber” Seminar was organized by the EU Delegation to Japan and the EU – Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation in Tokyo. EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding helped in organising the event. The seminar gave an overview of the latest policy developments relating to the trade in legal timber and facilitated a discussion between the world’s key markets for forest products. EFI presence in Tokyo was also used to brief a number of individual Members of Parliament, civil society, consumer organisations and industry representatives interested in the FLEGT initiative. Together with the EU, subsequent briefings on FLEGT were organized with the Forestry Agency and the Ministry of the Environment.

Workshop on Strategic Planning for Southeast Asian Forestry

ASEAN and the FAO organized a strategic planning workshop for Southeast Asian Forestry in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 21-23 March. EFI’s FLEGT Asia regional funding contributed a presentation on ‘Changing markets and in-country requirements due to FLEGT, the US Lacey Act and public procurement policies’. The main outcomes of the workshop focused on four thematic priorities, most closely linked to the FLEGT initiative:

  1. Planning responsible investments in forest areas
  2. Civil society participation in forestry
  3. Legal forest products trade
  4. Regional cooperation on international agreements affecting forestry

The full workshop report can be found here.


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FLEGT Updates: Publications – Upcoming events – News:



First Ghana-EU Annual progress report availableGhana_Annual_Implementation_Report-09-10.png : 120.8935546875Kb

The 2009-2010 Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the Ghana-EU VPA has been published and is available online. The report is the first in a series that will inform the public about the implementation process.

Moving Forward with Forest Governance

The latest ETFRN News (Nr. 53) shows that VPAs and REDD+ and other international instruments are important drivers to address governance in the forest sector. The 29 articles written by a range of experts working on these instruments showcase a rich diversity of examples of how forest governance has been addressed in various settings. The publication is available here


Publication of FLEGT Baseline Studies

As part of EFI’s information collection role, a number of forest governance, markets and trade Baseline Studies have been carried out in the region. Those now published include: China, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste and Vietnam.


Report on Forest and Forest- Related Stakeholder Consultations in Malaysia Published

The report ‘Mapping of Forest and Forest- Related Stakeholder Consultations in Malaysia’ provides an inventory of relevant stakeholder consultations covering the period from beginning of 2000 to mid-2011. The mapping exercise aims to serve as a starting point for improved coordination of different consultations in different contexts and to draw lessons learned to improve the stakeholder consultation process through better access to information and shared understanding. The report can be found here.


Report on Coordination Mechanisms to Implement Malaysia’s TLAS

Published The report gives a detailed analysis of areas where improvements in the implementation of Malaysia’s Timber Legality Assurance System (MY-TLAS) are required. It also lists recommendations for communication mechanisms between the different agencies involved in the implementation of the MY-TLAS. The report can be found here.

Upcoming events

Chatham House Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 20

Chatham House’s 20th illegal logging stakeholder update meeting will take place on 5-6 July. Registration for the event can be done with an online form or by email. A draft agenda has been published and further details of the meeting will be posted on the Illegal Logging website as these become available.

Experiences from the FLEGT/VPA process in West and Central African countries: Call for papers

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme in partnership with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and the EU FLEGT Facility, is soliciting papers for a regional workshop on “Experiences from the FLEGT/VPA process in West and Central African countries”, scheduled for 23-25 October in Accra, Ghana. The major objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders involved in the implementation of the FLEGT/VPA process in West and Central Africa to share and discuss experiences and lessons learned.


To submit papers, please submit an abstract that include author’s name, affiliation and title, title of the paper and the topic addressed to both Ms. Sophie Lemaitre (sophie.lemaitre @ and Ms. Rhoda Kwarteng (rapak5580 @ by 22 June 2012. Visit the ACP FLEGT website for more information.



Join the FLEGT Group in the community

Become a member of capacity4dev, the online community for development practitioners, and request membership to 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 enable easy and decentralised knowledge sharing. The group is targeted at EC/EEAS staff and EU Member States staff and specialists working on FLEGT, partner organisations and governments and FLEGT related Project beneficiaries.

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

New EFI video on the linkages between VPAs and Poverty Reduction

In her research, Dr. Mary Hobley has found VPAs to be an interesting instrument for poverty reduction. Watch the EFI video of her presentation at the 19th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation held at Chatham House in London in February 2012.

The video, which runs under 20 minutes, captures highlights from a study undertaken by Dr. Mary Hobley and Dr. Marlène Buchy, which was commissioned by the EU FLEGT Facility. It brings to light the multidimensionality of poverty and lists the subsequent conditions for poverty reduction in forests. The researchers found that the FLEGT VPA processes and content include elements that make it possible to address poverty. Dr. Hobley takes us through the ways these elements can be turned into social safeguards and concludes that VPAs are posing an exciting opportunity by bringing together a number of ingredients for alleviating poverty and securing forest people’s livelihoods.

Transparency International-Malaysia launches website to reduce illegal logging

Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) has launched an innovative and user-friendly website for Malaysians who want to try to reduce illegal logging cases. The website allows people to monitor rainforests and alert the authorities when they notice suspicious activities. According to Executive Director Alan Kirupakaran, co-operation with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and using simple tools like Google Earth will allow the public to become active participants in protecting the forests. To read the entire article click here.


Malaysian Minister urges timber exporters to be mindful of new market requirements

During the first anniversary dinner of the Malaysian Timber Industry Forum Association (TIF) Plantation Industries and Commodities, Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said that Malaysian timber products exporters have to be mindful of rising demand in major markets for legal timber and take appropriate steps to comply with these new rules. These markets include the United States, Australia and the European Union. The full article can be read here.


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Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme:

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Inception workshop with UNICONGO in Republic of Congo

UNICONGO, with the support of the ACP-FLEGT Programme, is implementing a project with the aim of supporting three pilot companies in their compliance with the national wood tracking system. A diagnosis of these companies’ tracking systems was recently realized. The results were shared with all stakeholders during the inception workshop held in Pointe-Noire on 18 May.


Support to FLEGT processes in East Africa

The ACP FLEGT Support Programme is re-invigorating a regional effort to review and support FLEGT processes in East Africa. The programme supports projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique to review and address issues of illegal production, trans-boundary movement and trade in timber products. Coupled with an ongoing EU supported study on timber movement in East Africa, the support to country level projects will result in a regional workshop in late 2012 to review FLEGT processes to date and priorities forward.


Evaluating FLEGT and REDD in DRC

WWF in partnership with CEDEN, with the support of the DRC government, ACP FLEGT Programme and UN REDD, is leading the organization of a workshop on seeking lessons learned from the FLEGT and REDD+ processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The workshop will take place from June 19 – 21 bringing local government and stakeholders together to exchange FLEGT / REDD experiences, challenges and explore possible synergies between programmes. Further information is available here.


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