Subject: EFIs EU FLEGT News, February/March 2010
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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.

Dear Reader
FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements: News from Africa - Asia - Latin America
FLEGT and demand-side initiatives
FLEGT Experts wanted!
FLEGT updates: Recent Publications – Upcoming Meetings – Website News
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News - Recent Publications - Upcoming Meetings

Dear Reader:


Welcome to the first issue of EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility Newsletter with contributions from the FAO ACP FLEGT Support Programme. From now on, we would like to provide you with a short update about activities conducted under the EU FLEGT Action Plan every two months. We will inform you on achievements in Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) negotiations between the EU and different timber exporting countries as well as address FLEGT in the context of different demand-side initiatives and other policy debates. But to make this newsletter most useful to the FLEGT Community, we also encourage you to send us feedback as well as to actively participate by sending us news about your FLEGT projects and studies. For now, please be invited to read through the following articles.


EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility Team


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FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements: News from Africa - Asia - Latin America:




Cameroon and the European Commission have agreed upon the text of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The initialling of the Agreement is expected to take place in the second half of February. Subsequently, Cameroon as well as the EU will start their ratification processes to gain legislative approval for the legally binding status of the Agreement. In the EU, the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force has slightly changed the process of ratification with the Council’s and Parliament’s involvement. The Cameroon Agreement will be the 3rd VPA following successful conclusions of VPAs in Ghana and the Republic of Congo.

Central African Republic:

Negotiations are ongoing with CAR. Monthly technical negotiation session have been hold since October 2009. The upcoming session is planned early March. Legality definition, product scope and legality assurance system are on the agenda of this session.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

one day workshop was recently held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on February 1, 2010 titled Challenges to Forest Sector Governance in the DRC and Priority Actions to Consider with regards to a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). This workshop was the second in a series informing Congolese stakeholders about FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements as part of the European Union’s FLEGT Action Plan. There is increasing interest on the part of the Congolese government, private sector and other forest stakeholders to learn more about FLEGT VPAs and how they can be a tool to help address some of the challenges they are facing in the forest sector. The workshop was well attended with over 60 participants discussing the different elements of a VPA and how such an Agreement could help DRC improve forest sector governance.



Gabon’s Prime Minister recently requested the launch of formal VPA negotiations between his country and the EU. The launch and first negotiation session is scheduled to take place in Libreville in the week of March 15.



The VPA Secretariat was officially put into operation in October 2009. Next formal negotiations will take place in early March in Brussels. They aim to discuss the Legality Assurance System (LAS) as central elements of a VPA for Liberia, strategy for supporting legal reform and development (especially on community right regulations, chainsaw logging), international market trends and recent EU policies and next steps (roadmap, prepare aide memoire and public report of negotiation session)


Rep. of Congo (Brazzaville):

Congo is currently implementing the VPA concluded in May 2009. One of the major efforts is to develop a national traceability system to capture the supply chains of timber products for domestic and all export markets. The system is being developed in a close cooperation with the government of Congo and EU Delegation in the country.



On 25 January, EFI’s FLEGT Asia Programme, funded by the Commission, was officially launched with regional headquarters based in Kuala Lumpur. Negotiations on VPAs with Malaysia and Indonesia have been underway since 2007. The EU now aims to expand the broader FLEGT Programme to the rest of the Asian region. The FLEGT Asia programme implemented by EFI will primarily be carried out in the Mekong region, in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.



In the framework of VPA negotiations, the development of an Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System is currently being trialled. Indonesia was one of the first countries to develop a legality definition through a multi-stakeholder consultation process. With the adoption of this system, discussion with the EU has resumed in an attempt to assess the compatibility of the Indonesian system and the EU FLEGT technical requirements. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry has convened four multi-stakeholder Working Groups to further develop the new legality verification system. The outcomes will be discussed in the next EU-Indonesia VPA Technical Working Group, planned to take place in Jakarta in March 2010.


Malaysia’s VPA negotiations appear to be entering their final stages. After the discussion of the legal text of the VPA and associated annexes through a Technical working Group in early December, Malaysia is currently going through a process of internal consultation. It is expected that discussions with the EU will resume in March 2010.



The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has set up a FLEGT interagency group and is currently planning the start of a consultation process involving private sector representatives and civil society to discuss the possible implications of concluding a VPA. The government is responding to a scoping study conducted by ProForest, funded by EFI’s FLEGT Asia programme, supported by the EU, and Vietnamese officials and experts. The Vietnamese team had been on a study tour to Europe to familiarise themselves with changing EU market conditions for timber and timber products and the principles of the FLEGT Action plan. Vietnam and the EU had agreed to set up a bilateral VPA Technical Working Group in 2008. As a major importer of timber, legality verification of raw material sources in Vietnam will be essential to the credibility of the Legality Assurance System.


Latin America


The EU FLEGT Facility has conducted its first exploratory mission to Latin America on behalf of the Commission. Therewith, the Commission has responded to the invitation of the Ecuadorian Government to provide more information on VPAs. In the framework of the mission, particularly the private sector showed interest and wanted the country to enter into a VPA. Ecuador exports VPA core products mainly to the US and India; only 5 % of the total estimated export volume of these products went to the EU in 2007. However, the EU accounted for around 25 % of the value of total exports in the same year. With the extension of the US Lacey Act to exclude illegal timber products from the US market and buyers requesting for legality verification more often, the Ecuadorian timber hopes that a VPA could prepare the ground for increased timber exports in the EU and might also ease trade with the US.

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FLEGT and demand-side initiatives:


Due Diligence Regulation:

The legislative process for the EU "due diligence" Regulation (DDR) reached "political agreement" by the EU Agriculture Council on the text of the proposed Regulation. Key issues in the debate were calls by some Ministers for a "prohibition" on the sale of illegal timber and concerns about the potential burden of the Regulation on small and medium enterprises. The Council's text differs considerably from that proposed by the European Parliament in its first reading. It is expected that there will be intensive discussion between the Council and Parliament during the second quarter of 2010 in order to agree on a compromise text during the second reading.

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FLEGT Experts wanted!:

The European Forest Institute’s EU FLEGT Facility is continuously looking for long-term and short-term experts in the fields of governance, legal and institutional reform and wood tracking systems with country experience in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Please send your CV to Niina Verkerk (email: niina.verkerk (at)

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FLEGT updates: Recent Publications – Upcoming Meetings – Website News:




* A reprint of the Ghana VPA Briefing Note was published for the Chatham House Meeting on Illegal Logging and Stakeholder Update Number 15 in London (20-21 Jan).



* The EU-funded project “Developing alternatives for illegal chainsaw milling in Ghana and Guyana through multi-stakeholder dialogue”, implemented by Tropenbos International, addresses the negative impacts of chainsaw milling, while maintaining and enhancing its positive socio-economic efforts for local and indigenous people. Recently, the synthesis report “Chainsaw Milling in Ghana: Context, drivers and impacts” has been published.

* Forest Trends published in January the study “Timber Markets and Trade between Laos and Vietnam: A Commodity Chain Analysis of Vietnamese-Driven Timber Flows”  exploring the political power dynamics involved in the logging and trade between the two countries. (Abstract

* A new briefing paper of Chatham House was published in January dealing with “Controlling Illegal Logging: Consumer-Country Measures” ) (Abstract)



Upcoming Meetings


* For upcoming technical meetings in the framework of VPA negotiations please click here.


* An UNECE/FAO and WTO Workshop on Emerging Trade Measures in Timber Markets will take place on 23 March in Geneva.

* The next Forest Trends/IUCN Chatham House meeting in Beijing will be held around 29-30 March.

* The Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation 16 hosted by Chatham House has recently been announced. It will take place on 24-25 June.


* The International Conference “Following the Proceeds of Environmental Crime: Forests, Fish and Filthy Lucre” , taking place on 22-23 February at the University of Wollongong (Australia), will discuss ways to tackle illegal fishing and illegal logging in the region by the use of cooperative legal measures, particularly anti-money laundering and confiscation of proceeds techniques.



Website News


* The official text of the VPA between Ghana and the Commission is now available at


* The presentations of the FLEGT Training in Brussels (Nov, 16-18) have been published at


* The presentations of the Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation 15 (20-21 Jan) are now available at


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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News - Recent Publications - Upcoming Meetings:


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The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has recently completed its first call for proposals through the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme to African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP-FLEGT Support Programme). The first call for proposals was closed on November 6, 2009 through which 88 proposals were received. After following a rigorous evaluation process thirteen (13) proposals were endorsed for funding by the programme Steering Committee; 12 proposals in African countries and one in the Caribbean. Proposals address a variety of themes including technical assistance and training, support to policy/legal/regulatory reforms, support to private sector initiatives, and support to implement aspects of Voluntary Partnership Agreements.

The next call for proposals is scheduled to be issued in March and closed in May of 2010. For additional information about the workshop please contact Mr. Robert Simpson, FAO Forestry Department, ACP-FLEGT Programme Manager, (robert.simpson (at)


Recent Publications

The policy brief “Forest governance and climate-change mitigation” summarizes the main findings from a series of workshops sponsored and held by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) between August 2006 and July 2008. Workshops were held in Southeast Asia, West Africa, Central Africa, the Amazon Basin and Mesoamerica to promote a multi-sector dialogue between countries on improving forest law compliance. The workshops were attended by 291 participants from 46 countries representing government, civil society and the private sector. The brief outlines seven forest law compliance and governance elements necessary to optimize the role of forests in mitigating climate change.



Upcoming Meetings

FAO Regional Workshop on Improving Forest Law Compliance and Governance in Caribbean countries: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is sponsoring a regional workshop on improving forest law compliance and governance thought the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, a four-year initiative funded by the European Commission and implemented by FAO. The workshop will be held from March 9 - 11, 2010 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The workshop will serve as a forum for stakeholder groups including government institutions, private sector organizations and civil society organizations, to share forest law enforcement, governance and trade-related experiences, identify local FLEGT-related priorities, strengthen regional cooperation, and raise awareness about the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme and the services it can offer in the region.


For additional information about the workshop please contact Mr. Robert Simpson, FAO Forestry Department, ACP-FLEGT Programme Manager, (robert.simpson (at)


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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