Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, June/July 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.

FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements (VPAs): News from Africa
FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia
FLEGT VPAs: News from South America
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives
FLEGT Cross-cutting Issues: Studies - Meeting Reports
FLEGT Open Tender Published
FLEGT Updates: Recent Publications – Upcoming Meetings
Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News
 

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

Cameroon:

On 6 May, Cameroon's Minister of Forest and Wildlife, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle and the EU Head of Delegation to Cameroon, Raul Mateus Paula on behalf of the EU initialled a VPA. The ceremony took place in Yaoundé and was part of a “FLEGT Week”, including a stakeholder workshop and a number of media events. The VPA negotiations between Africa’s biggest exporter of tropical hardwood to Europe, and the EU started in November 2007. Both Parties have now started ratification process.

 

Central African Republic (CAR):

The development of a VPA is moving forward in CAR: the draft Legality Definition, a core element of the future system to control timber harvesting and trade with the EU, was tested in the field. Two experts from The Forest Trust, an international NGO, and two representatives from CAR assessed the Legality Definition and its indicators to ensure that it is practical, verifiable and pertinent. Results and recommendations are currently being discussed by stakeholders in CAR. Proposed changes will be addressed at the next negotiation session planned for mid June.

 

Ghana:

In Ghana, VPA implementation is ongoing: a Timber Validation Department (TVD) responsible for the legality verification of private sector operators and export consignments destined for the EU market was established in March. The Department will recruit field teams to audit forest and timber processing operations, and an officer to manage and analyse the data entering into the national Wood Tracking System (WTS). The WTS has been partially field-tested, and all tests are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

 

Liberia:

Liberia is preparing for its third official negotiation session, scheduled for early July in Monrovia. The development of a VPA Legality Definition is underway and discussions on a first draft will be part of the next meeting. Liberia’s VPA Secretariat has also started to hold community meetings in a number of regions to inform forest communities about the agreement and its implications.

 

Republic of Congo (ROC):

On 17 May, the EU and the Republic of Congo signed a VPA, the first in the Congo basin. It is foreseen that, starting in July 2011, all wood products entering the EU from ROC will be required to carry a FLEGT licence demonstrating their legal origin. The VPA was signed by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and the Spanish Minister for the Environment, Elena Espinosa on behalf of the EU and ROC’s Minister Henri Djombo, responsible for forests, sustainable development and environment. The Agreement will enter into force once ratified by both sides and - since the Lisbon Treaty - after approval of the European Parliament. Meanwhile implementation of the commitments made in the VPA in ROC is underway, including the development of legality verification procedures and the identification of needs for building capacity of the IGEF (Inspection General de l'Economie Forestière) which will be responsible for legality verification. The French consulting company Forêt Ressources Management (FRM) will assist in the development of verification procedures and a capacity building programme. The first training for IGEF will be organised in the second half of 2010 with the support of the ACP FLEGT Support Programme, financed by the EU and implemented by FAO. The legal reforms foreseen in the VPA will also be supported through the ACP FLEGT Support Programme in the second half of 2010.
You can view the signing video on the European Commission’s Audiovisuals Service website (published 24 May, 17:03:46)



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FLEGT VPAs: News from Asia:

Indonesia:

Following the third Technical Working Group meeting in March, a third Joint Indonesia-EU Experts Meeting took place in early May in Jakarta. It aimed to further clarify EU regulatory mechanisms and structures set out for the VPA Legality Assurance Systems, as well as Indonesia-specific elements of its Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK) and relevant regulations. To move forward with the negotiation of a VPA, it was concluded that specific requirements for the VPA annexes need to be prepared, including a system description of the SVLK functionalities and Terms of Reference for the periodic evaluation of SVLK implementation. The next meeting of the Technical Working Group is scheduled for the second half of June.

 

Vietnam:

On May 7, a high-level meeting took place in Hanoi to discuss next steps with respect to the FLEGT process between Vietnam and the EU, including Vietnamese Vice-Minister Hua Duc Nhi of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ambassador Sean Doyle, EU Head of the Delegation and Director of International Affairs for DG Environment of the European Commission Timo Mäkelä. The meeting followed a letter from Vice-Minister Nhi to Mr. Doyle stating that Vietnam had decided that it would like to initiate formal negotiations for a VPA. At the meeting both sides agreed to hold a first round of talks in October. On the same visit to Hanoi, Mr. Mäkelä also met with Vice-Minister Le Danh Vinh of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss the consequences for Vietnam of the proposed EU’s Due Diligence Regulation.



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FLEGT VPAs: News from South America:

Bolivia:

On behalf of the European Commission, EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility undertook a first exploratory mission to Bolivia at the end of April. The objective was to provide information on the EU FLEGT Action Plan and VPAs and to assess initial governance challenges. It is estimated that Bolivia has around 55 million hectares of forests (50% of total land area). In 2007, the forestry sector contributed 2.8% to GDP. One third of the country’s timber exports go to the EU and one third to the USA. Both the private sector and NGOs are reportedly supportive of entering into a VPA.



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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives:

News picks in May:

US senator encourages Australia to take measures against the trade in illegally harvested timber, reported here: Australia urged to ban illegal timber imports (http://www.abc.net.au) and USA urges more action on illegal logging imports (http://www.watoday.com.au/environment/)  and the radio documentary about timber politics on ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, http://abc.net.au).

The new UK government is thinking of criminalizing illegal wood imports, reported here: Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition deal: full text (http://www.guardian.co.uk), see item 11: Environment “Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence”.

Norway announced a deal with Indonesia on REDD: Norway Pledges $1 Billion for Indonesia Climate, Council Says (http://www.bloomberg.com) & Indonesia pledges two-year deforestation moratorium (http://news.bbc.co.uk). 



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FLEGT Cross-cutting Issues: Studies - Meeting Reports:

Two new scoping studies underway in Asian region:

In March, EFI EU FLEGT Asia commissioned two scoping studies: the first one by Forest Trends is to gather baseline information for the Mekong region (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China including Hongkong) while the second study by TRAFFIC International will cover Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, and Timor-Leste. The studies will provide overview of the current situation in the forest sector, trends in production, export and domestic consumption, and drivers for change. They will address inter alia linkages between countries within the region, and describe the forest products trade between the major exporting countries in the region and key consumer markets. Furthermore, the studies will develop engagement strategies with key stakeholders in each country for moving the EFI EU FLEGT Asia Support Programme forward in its implementation. Preliminary presentations of the study findings were made at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference in Phnom Penh on 5 May. The final results of the first study will be presented at a Conference & Business Roundtable in Beijing on 7-8 September 2010, to be co-organized by EFI EU FLEGT Asia with the Chinese State Forest Administration, USAID, TNC, RAFT, Rainforest Alliance, WWF and TFT.

 

ASEM Conference on Forests, Forest Governance and Timber Products Trade (4-5 May, Phnom Penh):

This Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference was the first one targeting specifically the forest/timber sector. It was attended by around 150 participants from 19 countries. Discussions encompassed issues from forest governance, enforcement and trade. According to the draft Chair’s Statement, they showed that “all participants are determined to strengthen the Europe-Asia partnership in the ASEM framework to tackle the challenges posed by illegal logging and trade as well as deforestation”. 
 

EFI EU FLEGT Asia regional launch at the ASEM Conference on Forests (4 May, Phnom Penh):

The EU, in cooperation with EFI, held a regional launch event presenting the EFI EU FLEGT Asia Support Programme on the first day of the ASEM Conference. The event was attended inter alia by the Director of International Affairs for DG Environment of the European Commission Timo Mäkelä, and EFI Director Risto Päivinen as well as representatives of the Cambodian Government. The regional support programme will focus on work in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) and China.

 

26th COFLAC Session (24-28 May, Guatemala City):

The FAO’s Latin American Forestry Commission (COFLAC) celebrated its 26th meeting at the end of May in Guatemala City. A keynote address of the Minister of Environment of Ecuador Marcela Aguiñaga, delivered by Vice Minister Tania Villegas, addressed the root causes and implications of poor forest governance and pointed out that it is a serious obstacle to sustainable forest management. While forest governance was not a discussion item in the agenda of COFLAC, the sub-regional working groups identified it as one of the priority areas for action. Forest governance, together with finance, will be one of the two major themes to be discussed at the FAO’s Committee on Forestry (COFO) in Rome on 4-8 October 2010.

 

EFI / TRAFFIC side event on Forest Governance at COFLAC Session (23 May, Guatemala City):

Under the title “International timber trade and forest governance”, EFI in collaboration with TRAFFIC organised a reception the day before the official start of the 26th Session of COFLAC. The aim was to inform representatives of national forest authorities about market-related initiatives to control illegal timber, such as the EU FLEGT Action Plan and the US Lacey Act. The reception was attended by participants from ten countries. Guatemala, as host of the COFLAC and a leading timber exporter in Central America, reported on solutions to improve forest governance. Furthermore, a representative of Colombia presented the country’s national pact for legal timber which aims to reduce the volume of illegal timber on Under the title “International timber trade and forest governance”, EFI in collaboration with TRAFFIC organised a reception the day before the official start of the 26th Session of COFLAC. The aim was to inform representatives of national forest authorities about market-related initiatives to control illegal timber, such as the EU FLEGT Action Plan and the US Lacey Act. The reception was attended by participants from ten countries. Guatemala, as host of the COFLAC and a leading timber exporter in Central America, reported on solutions to improve forest governance. Furthermore, a representative of Colombia presented the country’s national pact for legal timber which aims to reduce the volume of illegal timber on Colombia’s market through coordinated actions, involving a broad range of stakeholders.

 

EFI presentation on FLEGT participation and monitoring lessons for REDD at Chatham House/UN-REDD Programme Workshop (24-25 May, London)

On 24 and 25 May, the EFI EU FLEGT Facility presented FLEGT VPA experiences and principles for participation and verification/monitoring to a group of governance, climate and forest experts meeting at Chatham House in London. The group was discussing a framework for defining and monitoring governance for REDD+ at the national level. The presentation focused on the five core elements of a VPA legality assurance system, emphasizing: the role of stakeholders in defining workable, legitimate standards and verification systems for each partnership; that the design of each country system reflected existing institutional and sectoral characteristics, while it delivered a core set of functions that were common to all; that third-party field-based monitoring/auditing was central to the credibility of all of the partnerships.



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FLEGT Open Tender Published:

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 has published an open tender "Multiple Framework Agreement for EU FLEGT Facility activities
with reopening of competition" to identify potential subcontractors and to establish framework contracts with several service providers for search studies, capacity building etc. All the documentation related to the open tender can be found at: http://www.efi.int/portal/projects/flegt/open_tenders/.

Tenders need to be received by 24 June 2010 at 16.00 hours CET at the latest.



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FLEGT Updates: Recent Publications – Upcoming Meetings:

Publications:

Cameroon VPA Country Briefing Notes have been published for the following countries in English and in French. The Ghana VPA Briefing Note is now also available in French and in Spanish.

 

The next Chatham House illegal logging update meeting will take place on 24-25 June in London. For further information on the programme, you can download the preliminary agenda here. There will be English-French simultaneous interpretation made available.


 

Upcoming Meetings:

Forthcoming under the title “FLEGT: Opportunities and Challenges”, you are very welcome to participate in this XXIII IUFRO World Congress Side Event co-organized by the Chinese Academy of Forestry, EFI EU FLEGT Asia and the International Tropical Timber Organization on 25 August in Seoul, Republic of Korea (6:30-8:30 pm, Meeting room No. E6, 3rd Floor COEX Centre).



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Updates from ACP-FLEGT Support Programme: News :

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme initiates first projectsFAOsmalllogo1.jpg : 4.40625Kb

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme has just concluded 7 memorandums of understanding for a number of pilot and technical assistance projects in Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Liberia and Cameroon. These 13 projects have been selected during the first call for proposals issued by the Programme. Other memorandums of understanding have yet to be signed with other organisations in Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Dominican Republic and Congo-Brazzaville.

Visit the FAO website for further information on these projects : http://www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt/en/.


 

Second call for proposal brings interest from all corners of the ACP:

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme closed its second call for proposals on 14 May. One-hundred and fifteen proposals were received including 84 Pilot Projects, 24 Technical Assistance proposals and 7 Direct Requests for Assistance. The second call for proposals marked an increase in submissions from both the Caribbean and Pacific Island countries. The Expert Panel of reviewers is currently working to evaluate and score proposals that will be recommended for endorsement by the programme Steering Committee. Further information about proposals endorsed for funding and the third call for proposals scheduled for the second half of 2010 will be available after the review process has been completed in July.

Visit the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme website for further information on accessing assistance resources for FLEGT related projects at: www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt



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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/