Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, September/October 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: Meeting Reports – Research Agenda
FLEGT related dialogue
FLEGT Updates: News in the Media – Publications
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme

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


Following the June ratification of the VPA by the parliament of Cameroon, the Joint Monitoring Committee and the Joint implementation Council – two participative bodies supporting the VPA implementation - are scheduled to be launched by year-end. EFI carried out in July an assessment of the pilot timber traceability system. The nine-month field testing of the timber traceability system is scheduled for October and will involve timber supply chains originating from all types of forest titles included in the VPA.


The Forestry Commission (FC) of Ghana recently invited ‘expressions of interest’ for providing support for the development of a nationwide wood tracking system and assist with its implementation throughout the country. The FC is currently evaluating the ‘expressions of interest’, and will organize competitive bidding among short-listed candidates. In parallel, Ghana continues developing and implementing procedures for verifying compliance with its national Legality Standard.



Liberia has prepared a VPA implementation work plan covering the period until the end of 2012. A consulting company will support the initial development of the country’s Legality Assurance System (LAS), working in cooperation with relevant Liberian stakeholders to prepare the country for legal verification and the chain of custody system, as well as FLEGT licenses for export.



Republic of Congo (ROC)

A new technical adviser was appointed in August to assist the Legality and Traceability Unit at the country’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and Environment (MDDEFE). The technical adviser will assist in developing procedures for FLEGT licensing, in line with the terms of the VPA. In September, EFI conducted a mission to review progress of the national timber traceability system. Five logging companies have volunteered for field testing scheduled for November. The VPA ratification process is currently underway in the parliament of the ROC, and could be completed by December 2011.


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Asia:


In August this year, EFI started a joint timber flow study, to assess timber flows in Laos, including conversion and infrastructure areas. The study is carried out in cooperation with the Department of Forest Inspection and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The joint study team is scheduled to visit several provinces; a stakeholder workshop is planned for November 2011.

Also in Laos, the National Assembly initiated with the Department of Forestry a joint review process on the Forestry Law in Laos The process will be facilitated by GIZ's Climate Protection through avoided Deforestation Project, which includes aspects of both REDD+ and FLEGT. A FLEGT presentation to the National Parliament is scheduled for mid-October.



A joint timber flow study in Thailand kick-started FLEGT-related field work in the country. The study will be carried out between September and November 2011 by Thailand’s Royal Forestry Department (RFD) and EFI’s study team. At the same time, the RFD and FLEGT Asia are in the process of drafting terms of reference for a stakeholder mapping study, expected to begin at the end of this year. In addition, Thailand’s FLEGT VPA Negotiation Committee held its first internal meeting, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.



A first VPA stakeholder consultation workshop took place in Hanoi in August. Stakeholders received information on the process and discussed the definition of timber legality for Vietnam. In addition, the workshop discussed studies commissioned by EFI to support the VPA negotiation process. The next Technical Working Group – one of the official fora for VPA bilateral negotiations – is scheduled for November 2011.


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Central and South America:


EFI participated from 24-26 August in Apartadó, Colombia in a Forum for Forest Governance for the Construction of a Timber Legality Definition, sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, the Autonomous Regional Corporation of Risaralda and WWF/Colombia. About 50 to 60 participants from the public sector, the private sector and civil society attended the Forum. The EFI participant presented the EU FLEGT Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation.


On a separate note, an Intersectoral Pact for Legal Timber in Colombia was signed on 31 August by more than 40 government, private sector and NGO organizations, with the President of Colombia as honorary witness. The Pact will have a duration of four years and is an integral part of the country’s National Development Plan. During the meeting, the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos said the government considered that the fight against the traffic of illegal timber was a high-value objective, and that its goal would be to ensure that in the future all exploited, traded and utilized timber products in Colombia should come exclusively from legal sources. Full text of the President’s speech (in Spanish) here.



The IX National Congress on Forests “Forests, Society and Climate Change” was held in the city of La Antigua, Guatemala from 10-12 August. A parallel session was organized during the Congress at the invitation of the Inter-Institutional Working Group for the Development of a Strategy to Reduce Deforestation. Presentations were made on the Strategy to Reduce Deforestation, the Institutional Action Plan to Prevent and Reduce Illegal Logging in Guatemala, and EFI presented the EU FLEGT Action Plan.


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FLEGT and cross-cutting issues: Meeting Reports – Research Agenda:

Timber Tracking Technology Workshop held in Kuala Lumpur

International timber specialists met from 27 to 29 July in Kuala Lumpur during a regional timber tracking workshop to discuss tracking and tracing systems and technologies. Co-sponsored by USAID, TNC RAFT, TRAFFIC and EFI, the workshop objective was to support the forestry and timber industry in the Asia and Pacific by sharing the available technologies for identifying the source of wood products and verifying that the wood has been legally harvested and traded. During the workshop, EFI presented a paper entitled “Meeting new legality requirements for timber products exported to the EU”.


Research agenda

A draft of the Forest Governance Research Agenda is currently available for review until 17 October. A first 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; 280 comments submitted were used as the basis for the current draft. EFI Associate and Affiliate Members, as well as contributors to the first consultation, who expressed interest to review the advance draft, have received an invitation for the second consultation. Please contact info(at) if you would like to contribute with your view.


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FLEGT related dialogue:


A delegation composed of staff from the EFI's EU FLEGT Facility, and the European Commission visited Brazil in October on an exploratory mission to learn more about the country’s forest policy and timber legality control systems. The group met with partners and presented EU FLEGT to the public, academic, non-governmental and civil society sectors in Brasília, São Paulo, Rio Branco and Belém, the latter in the Amazon region.



The First APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry was held in Beijing on 6-7 September and adopted the Beijing Forestry Declaration. The Declaration urges APEC economies to strengthen coordination and cooperation on forest policies; it will be submitted to APEC leaders at the next summit in November.

The Chinese government expressed its support for international forestry cooperation. China’s President, Mr Hu Jintao, opening the meeting, stated: "China will continue to support forestry related activities of other APEC economies, increasing access to the Asia Pacific Networking on Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Forest Management."
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the same event, China’s Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, said that China is prepared to play an active role in advancing sustainable development of forests in the Asia-Pacific region and to share its experience and information with APEC members. Hui also said that China will increase its support to the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNET).
In line with its strategy for China, in August FLEGT Asia hired Chinese forester Chen Xiaoquian as FLEGT Facilitator for China. Dr Xiaoquian brings to FLEGT her considerable expertise on the Chinese and Asian timber trade.

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FLEGT-REDD Linkages:

Republic of Congo (ROC)

The EU REDD Facility undertook a first fact finding mission to the Republic of Congo from 29 August to 2 September. The aim of the mission was to initiate contact with stakeholders and assess the status of REDD+, with a particular focus on linkages between the ongoing FLEGT VPA and REDD+ processes in the country.


Ad hoc working group on FLEGT and REDD linkages

The working group met on 9 September 2011 in Brussels to discuss synergies between FLEGT and REDD+ processes at country level, building on the first country experiences from the EU REDD Facility. Participants also used the opportunity to share information on their engagement in and funding of REDD+ activities.


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FLEGT Updates: News in the Media – Publications:

News in the media:

Guyana:Getting closer to a decision on EU forestry trade accord: In a comprehensive article published in the Georgetown daily newspaper Stabroek News, on 1 September 2011 Guyana’s Pradeepa Bholanath, Head of the Planning and Development Division at the Guyana Forestry Division, was quoted as saying that the country is likely to enter in the near future into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU under its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme. FAO representative in Guyana, Lystra Fletcher-Paul, said during a workshop on the issue held in the Guyanan capital on the week of 11 September that a VPA while not a conditionality for export, will make export to Europe quicker and easier.



Mekong region: PROFOR recently published the results of a study on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in the Mekong Region. The report outlines options for regional activities improving forest governance in the Mekong region in support of national programs. It is published in two volumes. The first volume presents current FLEG trends in the Mekong region, where countries have taken steps to respond to increased demands for accountability and legality of timber and wood product exports. The second volume identifies 13 areas of potential collaboration in the region. The full report can be found here.


Honduras: In July 2011, FERN published “Central America’s first VPA: Perspectives on FLEGT in Honduras” (full text in English here: According to Fern´s website, this briefing note provides information about progress achieved so far towards a VPA in Honduras following initial contacts between Honduras and the EU in mid-2010, and a series of workshops that took place in April 2011. This briefing note reflects on the opportunities for and challenges to successful negotiation – and implementation – of a VPA.


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EFI’s FLEGT/REDD Unit started operations on 15 August in Barcelona at the historical site of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau - Recint Historic de Sant Pau i Santa Creu.
Hosting team members from FLEGT and REDD, as well as communications, IT and Unit Head, the new office is part of a larger EFI Policy Advice office that includes EFI’s Mediterranean programme, EFIMED. FLEGT/REDD Administration and Analysis will still operate from EFI headquarters in Joensuu, Finland.


“Thanks to the generous contribution of the government of Spain, EFI’s FLEGT and REDD Unit now has the opportunity to gather its technical staff under one roof, which will strengthen Unit’s capacity to support the EC and EU member states in their FLEGT and REDD related policy implementation” said Jussi Viitanen, Acting Head of the EFI FLEGT and REDD Units.

Built between 1901 and 1930, designed by the Catalan modernist architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner, the Recint Historic de Sant Pau i Santa Creu has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. A functioning hospital from the XIVth century until June 2009, most of the complex is undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center, as well as for the offices of several international organizations besides EFI.


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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme:

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Following its fourth call for proposals, the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme endorsed 24 additional projects that support FLEGT initiatives. Projects include 22 from Africa, one from Caribbean and one from Pacific Island countries. Currently, 88 projects are funded in 31 different countries. Two countries were added to the list of countries that were already receiving funding through the Programme, Gambia with one project focusing on Community based FLEGT initiatives and Uganda with two projects on assessing the extent of illegal timber trade and on combating illegal trade in timber and charcoal.


Liberia FLEGT VPA Coordination meeting

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Liberia was initialled on 9 June 2011. To ensure its smooth implementation, the ACP FLEGT Support Programme and the European Union Delegation to Liberia co-sponsored a one-day FLEGT VPA coordination meeting in Monrovia, Liberia on 30 September 2011. Attending the event were representatives from the seven projects funded through the ACP FLEGT programme and the EU Delegation, as well as government institutions, civil society and community organizations involved in the FLEGT VPA process. Stakeholders received feedback on project activities, discussed opportunities to build synergies between projects, and evaluated critical gaps in project coverage that should be addressed in future VPA implementation.


Liberia community mapping project to reduce illegal logging

The NGO Green Advocates inaugurated the project “Monitoring illegal logging by mobilizing semi-illiterate forest-dependent communities to use GIS -GPS community mapping tools". The project marks the first time that communities have been invited to participate in co-mapping activities for law enforcement and better governance in the forest sector in Liberia. Empowered by the amended forestry act of 2006 and the new community rights law in Liberia, communities have an increasingly important voice in the forest resources management. The project will continue for one year and should serve both as a pilot for communities to monitor forest usage, and as a mechanism of self-criticism.


IVth Racewood, Pointe Noire (Congo), 29-30 septembre 2011

The ACP-FLEGT program partially sponsored the organization of the IVth Racewood, reconvening a number of actors in the African timber trade scenario. This fourth edition of Racewood delivered the opportunity to introduce the "White Book on the development of the transformation of wood and local and regional markets in the Basin of Congo," an initiative supported by IFIA, FAO and ITTO. It was also marked by the exhibition of several models of wooden homes with a view to promoting a transformation in the use of wood in the region. Racewood participants took stock of the situation on the state of progress of process VPAs in the region, timber certification and the EU’s imminent Timber Trade Regulation, scheduled to be enforced from March, 2013. The links between these different initiatives were covered through plenary and side panel discussions.


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