Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, April/May 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 Partnerships Agreements (VPAs): News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia
FLEGT VPAs: News from South America
FLEGT VPAs: News from the Pacific Region
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives
FLEGT Cross-cutting Issues: Meeting Reports
FLEGT Open Tender to be Published Soon!
FLEGT Updates: Recent Publications – Upcoming Meetings – Website News
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News – Recent Publications – Meeting reports
 

Dear Reader:

Welcome to the second issue of EFI’s EU FLEGT News which comes along with another novelty: from now on, the newsletter will be also available in French and Spanish. Please note that if you are already subscribed and you want to switch languages, you have to change your personal language settings under MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION (please use the link at the end of this newsletter). All three language versions can be found at www.euflegt.efi.int.

EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility Team

 


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

Africa

Cameroon:

Following the agreement on the VPA text between the EU and the Cameroonian Government, dates for initialling are being identified. Meanwhile, Cameroon has started with the implementation of its timber traceability system, a key component of the VPA Legality Assurance System. A consortium of SGS and Helveta are supporting Cameroon in the design and deployment of the system and provide IT technology and training.

 

Central African Republic (CAR):

On 1-2 March, the second VPA negotiation session between the EU and the Central African Republic took place in Brussels. Negotiations were able to advance on a number of thematic areas, including the VPA Legality Definition for permis d’exploitation et d’amenagement (production and management permits) and the national wood traceability system. There were preliminary discussions on the development of a Legality Assurance System which, in addition to traceability, looks at verification of the Legality Definition and the supply chain. Furthermore progress was made on FLEGT licensing and a continuous independent audit of the system to ensure credibility. The CAR negotiation team was comprised by representatives from the private sector, civil society and different government departments from the Ministries of Forestry, Planning / Cooperation, Customs, Commerce, and Environment. The EU was represented by members of the European Commission and France. In addition, a public stakeholder meeting was held inviting interested parties to learn about the FLEGT VPA process in CAR. The next official negotiation session is scheduled for mid June in Bangui.
If you want to receive further information on the VPA negotiations between CAR and the EU or to be included in the stakeholder mailing list of the European Commission, please send an email to info(at)euflegt.efi.int.


Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

The Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo recently requested that formal VPA negotiations between his country and the EU begin. The European Commission and the Government of DRC are currently deliberating on next steps.

 

Liberia:

The EU and Liberia held their second VPA negotiation session in Brussels on 9-11 March. Liberia reaffirmed its commitment to good governance and the VPA process, identifying a range of benefits for the country’s people. Progress in developing a Legality Definition and Legality Assurance System were discussed and key principles agreed. Liberia is currently considering integration of pit sawing and community forests into the “system”. Furthermore, Liberia indicated that it seeks to build a national legality assurance system to cover all production and markets, not only focusing on the EU trade. The Liberian negotiating team was led by the Minister of Agriculture, with representatives from Finance, Investment, Justice and Forestry as well as from civil society and the private sector. Two members of the Liberian VPA Technical Secretariat were also present. The EU team was joined by representatives of the UK and Sweden. An associated public stakeholder meeting was attended by over 40 participants interested in learning about Liberia’s forest governance reform efforts. The private sector and European NGOs presented their perspective on illegal logging, market trends and emerging requirements including Europe’s “Due Diligence” legislation. The next negotiation session is scheduled for July in Monrovia.
If you want to receive further information on the VPA negotiations between Liberia and the EU or to be included in the stakeholder mailing list of the European Commission, please send an email to info(at)euflegt.efi.int.

 

Ghana:

Ghana was the first country to formally conclude and ratify a VPA with the EU. At the end of January the first meeting of Ghana’s VPA Implementation Committee took place. Under a VPA the development of an oversight body is mandatory. Its representatives from both parties, the EU and the partner country, facilitate and oversee the Agreement’s implementation. Ghana’s VPA Implementation Committee discussed, among others, an Action Plan for 2010. The Action Plan addresses the drafting and endorsement of rules of procedures, the development of a communication strategy, and steps either party will undertake to promote trade and the FLEGT license. The next meeting of the Committee is planned for October. Furthermore, Ghana will pilot its wood tracking system with four companies; it will be reviewed in September.  

 

Gabon:

The launch of formal VPA negotiations between Gabon and the EU has been delayed due to the national debate about the log export ban. The European Commission and the Government of Gabon are deliberating on possibilities to launch formal negotiations.



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FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia:

Asia

Indonesia:

Indonesia has made substantial progress in the development of its Timber Legality Assurance System, known as SVLK (Standar Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu), by publishing a number of supporting regulations. In early March the EU and Indonesia held a third FLEGT Technical Working Group Meeting in which it was agreed to develop a FLEGT licensing function for the SVLK, to clarify verification and chain of custody procedures, and to look into the independent monitoring function of the SVLK. Indonesia and the EU plan to start a series of video conferences on the legal text in April and aim to hold a fourth FLEGT Technical Working Group in Brussels in June.

 

Malaysia:

The three regions of Malaysia and the Federal Government are still deliberating Malaysia's position on the conclusion of a FLEGT VPA with the EU. An informal meeting in early March in Kuala Lumpur did not provide clarity on the Malaysian position.

 

Vietnam:

On 3 March, the Vietnam Working Group on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT VWG) was officially launched in Hanoi at a workshop organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in collaboration with the EU Delegation and the GTZ Vietnam German Forestry Programme. Participants included representatives from the Embassies of Finland and Norway, the private sector, NGOs, and the media. The launch was followed by a consultation workshop to define the priority actions for the FLEGT VWG in the coming months. Representatives of the FLEGT VWG, the EU Delegation to Vietnam and FLEGT Asia met in mid March to discuss the working group’s immediate work plan, which includes preparations for a stakeholder consultation involving the private sector and civil society. Also in March, Ms. Felise Hai-Ly Nguyen was appointed as the FLEGT Asia Advisor for Vietnam.



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FLEGT VPAs: News from South America:

South America

Regional:

On behalf of the European Commission, the EU FLEGT Facility continues to provide initial information on the EU FLEGT Action Plan and VPAs in South America. During the first quarter of this year, scoping missions have been carried out to Colombia and Guyana. The next mission will go to Bolivia in the second half of April. Missions also include initial assessment of governance challenges and outlining potential next steps in the possible VPA processes.

 

Colombia:

Following an invitation of the Colombian Government, the scoping mission in February showed that the country is making good progress in improving forest governance supported by an EU funded forest governance project. The “Forest Governance Project / Forests FLEGT” has developed a practical model for improving forest governance.



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FLEGT VPAs: News from the Pacific Region:

Pacific Region

Regional:

On behalf of the European Commission, the EU FLEGT Facility will conduct a first scoping mission about FLEGT and VPAs to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in April.



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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives:

EU “Due Diligence” Regulation:

The EU "Due Diligence" Regulation ("on the obligations of operators placing timber and timber products on the EU market") reached an important milestone when the Council of Ministers of the EU adopted its first reading position on the Regulation on 1 March. The European Parliament had set out its position in April last year proposing amendments to strengthen the Regulation in a number of areas. The two institutions will now try to reach a compromise text on which both sides can agree during the second reading process, which will take place in the European Parliament from March to early July. After a vote in a plenary session of the European Parliament in early July the amended proposal will be considered by the Council before November. If accepted it will then be signed into law. If not accepted then a third and final process called "conciliation" would have to take place. The process in the European Parliament can be followed here.



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FLEGT Cross-cutting Issues: Meeting Reports:

Forest Governance Integrity Outreach Session (25 Feb., Kuala Lumpur):

As part of its global programme, Transparency International has initiated the Forest Governance Integrity (FGI) programme. It focuses on the issue of corruption in forestry and it aims to work towards a society where corruption-free forest governance and sustainable management enable increased economic development, poverty reduction, and environmental protection. Five countries are involved in this program, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The FGI Programme Outreach Session in February was co-organized by Transparency International and the EU-EFI FLEGT Asia programme. EU-EFI FLEGT Asia supported the session to increase awareness of the FGI programme and especially of the development of a manual and tool for mapping, analyzing and monitoring corruption risks in the forestry sector amongst stakeholders, media, NGOs, industry and government agencies. This manual and tool is currently being adapted at local levels in the target countries.
See also the FLEGT Project “Anticorruption Advocacy, Forest Governance Systems Analysis and Monitoring” (March 2009 to August 2010).


ACRN FLEGT Week 2010 (22-26 March, Brussels):

The Annual FLEGT Meeting of the African Community Rights Network (ACRN) brought together representatives of civil society from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of Congo. The participants discussed the status of VPAs in different countries and exchanged lessons learned on various issues, including community engagement, challenges arising from VPA implementation, and crucial needs to continue fully involving communities and local NGOs in the agreed governance reform processes that will take place. Monitoring whether VPAs meet FLEGT commitments, such as “strengthening community rights”, was another key area of discussion. The programme included meetings with European NGOs and representatives of the European Commission. The NGO meeting was organised by FERN in cooperation with EFI.

 

Third RaceWood Meeting (22-23 March, Douala):

As one of the major events of the timber sector in Africa, the third RaceWood meeting was attended by around 300 participants including African forest companies, European timber trade companies and federations, African forest administrations, and NGOs. In addition representatives from China and Brazil came to hear more about the latest development of the African timber sector. Several presentations focused on how and how fast the market is changing: today there is a clear demand from the end-consumer that timber does not come from illegal or badly-managed forests. The FLEGT VPA processes prepare countries and their private sector to adapt and respond positively to the changing market. The demand for “good” wood has led to private sector initiatives (e.g. codes of conduct, building standards, company purchasing policies) and to public policies (e.g. “Due Diligence” Regulation in Europe, Lacey Act in the US, public procurement policies in a number of countries). Taking this into account, the private sector has invested in private certification. Central Africa is home to two countries which have concluded negotiations (Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon), one country currently negotiating VPAs with the EU (Central African Republic) and two countries which are expected to enter negotiations soon (Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon). The meeting was organised by the Interafrican Forest Industries Association (IFIA).



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FLEGT Open Tender to be Published Soon!:


With Ghana, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon, three countries have agreed FLEGT VPAs so far. Four countries in Africa and Asia are currently negotiating VPAs. There are a number of countries showing interest in negotiations. To facilitate support for VPA implementation in the countries, the EU FLEGT Facility on behalf of the European Commission will publish an open tender to identify potential subcontractors and to establish framework contracts with several service providers for search studies, capacity building etc. The publication of the open tender is expected by beginning of May. If you want to get informed as soon as it is published, pls. write a short notice to niina.verkerk(at)efi.int.



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

Publications:

The European Commission’s FLEGT Briefing Notes have been translated by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, into Chinese and Thai. Furthermore, IUCN translated Forest Trend's brief on the implications of the Lacey Act amendments for Thai forest producers.

 

A brochure about the EU-EFI FLEGT Asia Programme, funded by the European Commission, is currently under preparation. It is expected to be published by EuropeAid at the beginning of May.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

The ASEM Conference on “Forests, Forest Governance and Forest Products Trade: Scenarios and Challenges for Europe and Asia” will be held on 4-5 May in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the EU. The workshop intends to bring together policy-makers, academics, and representatives of civil society and the private sector. Main themes include trends in EU-Asia forest area, production and trade, scenarios for forest ownership, and governance as well as trends in non-forest land use and their impacts on forests. Technical inputs will be also provided by the EU-EFI FLEGT Asia programme.



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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News – Recent Publications – Meeting reports:

 

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The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ACP-FLEGT Support Programme has announced its second call for proposals. Programme stakeholder groups (government institutions, civil society organisations and private sector organisations from African, Caribbean and Pacific Island countries) may submit proposals for pilot projects or technical assistance up to the closing date of 14 May. The FAO ACP-FLEGT Support Programme is a four-year initiative that started in November 2008, supported by the European Commission. The programme provides assistance to ACP countries to put the EU FLEGT Action Plan into practice, and supports the collection, analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and lessons learned among the stakeholder groups. For more information contact the programme management at acp-flegt-info(at)fao.org or visit the website at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt/en/.

 

Recent Publications:

FAO and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) believe that forest law compliance and good forest governance are essential for countries and local forest-dependent communities. Together, the two organisations have been working to clarify the issues surrounding forest law compliance and governance and to assist countries to address these issues. The objective of the report “Forest law compliance and governance in tropical countries” is to summarize the main outcomes and lessons learned from five regional workshops on forest law compliance and governance conducted jointly by FAO and ITTO throughout the tropics. Based on the outputs of the workshops, the report makes a number of region-by-region recommendations and draws some general conclusions.

 

Meeting Reports:

The FAO, through the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, has recently completed the Workshop on Improving Forest Law Compliance and Governance in the Caribbean. The workshop was held in Bridgetown, Barbados on 9-11 March and attended by stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector from 11 different countries. The event provided a forum for regional stakeholders to share FLEGT-related experiences, identify FLEGT-related priorities for support, strengthen regional cooperation and raise awareness about available FAO and EFI services. The workshop report will be available soon on the programme website at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt/en/.



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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)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/