Subject: EFI EU FLEGT News, November/December 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 Related Dialogue
FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues
FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives
FLEGT and Research
FLEGT-REDD Linkages
FLEGT Updates: Publications – Studies – Upcoming course
Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme
 

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

Cameroon

Presidential elections in Cameroon delayed to early next year the first Joint Monitoring Committee of the Cameroon VPA. This first meeting of the VPA bilateral monitoring mechanism will be an opportunity for both the EU and the Government of Cameroon to discuss the VPA implementation progress since its initialling in May 2010. The Joint Monitoring Committee is one of the participatory instruments ensuring that stakeholders involved in the VPA negotiation remain mobilized in the implementation phase.

 

Central African Republic (CAR):

Following the VPA initialling in December 2010, the first Joint Monitoring Committee met in the country’s capital Bangui on 17 November. The meeting discussed achievements in 2011, as well as funding opportunities to support VPA implementation from 2012.

 

The formal signature of the Agreement took place on 28 November in Brussels with Emmanuel Bizot, Minister in charge of forests representing CAR. The next legal step in the Central African VPA is the ratification of the accord by the EU and Central African parliaments, next year.

 

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Photograph: From left to right: - Emmanuel BIZOT, Minister for Water, Forests, Hunting and Fisheries of the Central African Republic; Jan Tombinski, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the EU, Chairman of the Permanent Representatives Committee. © The Council of the European Union.

 

Gabon:

The 2nd formal VPA negotiation session took place in Brussels on 20 – 21 October. The discussion focused on the list of products and sources of wood covered by the agreement as well as the legality definition. Next steps and a new roadmap were also agreed. See the minutes of the meeting for further details. In the coming months Gabon will engage with stakeholders in-country to consolidate the legality definition, and to describe its Legality Assurance System. An expert hired by EFI will spend a month in Gabon from mid-November onwards to help facilitate this dialogue.

 

Ghana:

The tendering - or bidding process - for the appointment of a service provider for the development and roll-out of a national Wood Tracking System (WTS) closed in November. The Forestry Commission (FC) in Ghana is currently evaluating bids. It is anticipated that the appointed service provider will commence with development of the WTS in January 2012. Parallel to the tracking system, the FC continues to develop, implement and refine its verification procedures with its national legality standard.

 

Liberia:

The development of a Legality Assurance System in Liberia is scheduled to begin in January 2012.

 

Republic of Congo (ROC):

A short term communication expert will make his first one month mission to the country from mid-November onwards to assist the government in updating and implementing the national VPA communication plan. A follow-up mission is planned for March 2012.

 


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FLEGT VPAs – News from Asia:

Malaysia

Internal consultations within Malaysia continued over the period. With funding assistance from Germany and the Netherlands, several projects for capacity building are scheduled for completion this year. In addition, a Protem Secretariat was established, which will be transformed into a Reporting Body to provide administrative and technical support to the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) foreseen in the draft VPA.

 

Indonesia

The first meeting of the EU-Indonesia Joint Preparatory Committee (JPC) – an interim body to facilitate FLEGT VPA implementation during the signature and ratification process – was held in Jakarta on 22 November. An implementation strategy and road map for VPA implementation was discussed, including field testing of the Timber Legality Assurance System in mid-2012.

 

Vietnam

A new EFI EU FLEGT Facilitator began work in the country’s capital Hanoi to support the VPA process, in particular stakeholder dialogue and participation. Following a series of technical meetings in 2011 and some initial stakeholder consultations, the second formal negotiation by a Technical Working Group took place in Hanoi on 24 – 25 November. The meeting focussed on the draft timber legality definition, the range of products to be included in the VPA, the issue of timber imports and the next steps of the negotiation in 2012.

 


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FLEGT Related Dialogue:

 

EU and China coordinate approach to timber products commerce

 

Third Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) meets in Beijing to discuss timber trade

Beijing – In its third Bilateral Coordination Mechanism on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, China and the EU identified priority activities for joint implementation, such as business to business solutions to help China meet due diligence requirements in the EU Timber Regulation, scheduled to come into effect on 03 March 2013.

 

Held on 14 November in Beijing, the meeting was led by Mr. Timo Mäkelä, Director of International Affairs in DG Environment, European Commission, and from China by Ms. Zhang Yanhong of China’s State Forest Administration, along with colleagues Prof. Liu Jinlong (Renmin University), Mr. Chen Shaozhi (Chinese Academy of Forestry), and Prof. Wen Tiejun (Renmin University).

 

China - EU dialogue in the area of forests gains importance given the increasing volume of trade in timber products between them. In 2010 China exported some $7.81 Billion USD in timber products to the European Union, comprising 21.5% of total forest products exported from the country, including paper and pulp.

 

The Chinese furniture industry faces particular challenges in verifying the legality of timber as it tends to use timber from a wide range of undocumented sources, including timber harvested in neighbouring countries and involves complex supply chains.

The BCM aims to provide information exchange and identification of joint activities that will result in the reduction of illegal logging and associated trade globally.

 

EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia China Office Opens

The European Forest Institute’s EU FLEGT Asia China Joint Project Office officially opened its doors on 14 November in the Chinese capital, Beijing. The opening ceremony was performed by officials from the EU’s DG Environment and the Chinese State Forest Administration and attended by representatives of the Renmin University, the Chinese Academy of Forestry, UK DFID and the EU FLEGT Asia programme.

 

Through its EU FLEGT Asia programme, the European Forest Institute's (EFI) EU FLEGT Facility supports the EU-China Dialogue under a Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) on FLEG to reduce illegal logging and its associated trade. It also seeks ways to promote trade from legal and sustainable forests. The EU FLEGT Asia programme is a project funded by EuropeAid, and managed under the EU FLEGT Facility hosted by the European Forest Institute (EFI).


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Photograph: left to right: Prof. Liu Jinlong (Renmin University), Mr. Chen Shaozhi (Chinese Academy of Forestry), Mr. John Bazill (DG Env), Prof. Wen Tiejun (Renmin University), Mr. Vincent van den Berk (FLEGT Asia), Ms. Zhang Yanhong (State Forest Administration), Mr. Hugh Speechly (DFID), Dr. Chen Xiaoqian (FLEGT Asia). © FLEGT Asia.

 

India

An EFI technical mission visited India from 10 – 21 October 2011, with the aim to identify key partners in the private sector, non-governmental, government, civil society and international agencies to search for possibilities in FLEGT-relevant areas of cooperation. Members of the team participated in an international forest products conference in Bangalore, and assessed information on the Indian market for timber and timber products, including cross-district trade flows and tariff structures.

 

Given its sustained economic expansion, India’s internal demand for timber and timber products is expanding rapidly. Potential partners interviewed during the EFI mission expressed an ambition to increase and strengthen timber product exports, including to the EU. There was considerable interest in better understanding EU and US timber legislation, and procurement policies and their potential impact on India’s exports.  

 


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FLEGT and Cross-Cutting Issues:

Manga Festival on Forests

The French Institute of Laos, in collaboration with the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok, the Japanese Embassy, the FSP Mekong programme, GIZ and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Programme, organised the first Manga Festival in Laos 07 – 20 November. During this festival, two manga drawing competitions were organised on “Bad Drugs,” and on “Deforestation and dealing with the protection of the forests in Laos”. Festival participants were invited to submit cartoons to a competition. Winning cartoons will be available on the French Institute’s website as well as on the EFI EU FLEGT Facility Website.

 

Presentation on FLEGT to the National Assembly of Lao PDR

On 08 November, EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme, in collaboration with the EU Delegation to Laos, presented FLEGT at the first intersession meeting of the 7th legislation of the National Assembly (NA) of Lao PDR to a group of its 132 members. During the session, legislators viewed a film on illegal logging, which clarifies the EU Timber Regulation and highlights the concept and process of VPAs. Mr Thongsavanh, the Head of the Lao Wood Industry Association and member of the Lao FLEGT Focal Point, gave his views on the pros and cons of a VPA, and why Lao PDR should move ahead with this process in the sake of its forests, industry and people. The FLEGT presentation was preceded by REDD+ presentations by the Department of Forestry and GIZ. Linkages between FLEGT and REDD+ were highlighted.

 

Asia-Pacific Forestry Week in Beijing

The Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: “New challenges – new opportunities" held in Beijing 07-11 November brought together some 1,600 participants (half of them international participants) from a wide range of countries and organisations, including research institutions, the private sector, NGOs and government.

EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme was represented throughout the week in a number of key events, including:

  • The Legal and Logical Issues on the Process of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade
  • New Challenge, New Opportunity for Forestry Business’s Green Development 
  • From Bali to Beijing: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges from a Decade of Work on Forest Law Enforcement, and Governance in East Asia and the Pacific
  • Towards an Inclusive and Useful Communication Platform in Asia-Pacific Forestry
  • Moving Beyond the Gains of the Past Decade: Challenges for the Future of Timber Legality
  • Workshop on Transition to Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation in Asia-Pacific Region
  • Workshop on the proposed Chinese Legal Verification Procedures

Together with the Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme also organised a meeting with its Regional Advisory Group to discuss this year’s activities, as well as to elicit member’s views on the potential role for FLEGT in the Asia Pacific beyond 2012.

 

Potential and Challenges for Global Wood Products Market

Around 60 participants representing 33 organizations from nine countries participated in the international workshop “Perspective on Global Wood Products Market: Potential and Challenges” organised by the Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information, Chinese Academy of Forestry (RIFPI, CAF) and the Center for International Forest Products Trade, State Forestry Administration of China (CINFT, SFA) in Beijing on 13 October.

 

Participants discussed forecasting demand and supply of wood products towards 2020, tropical wood products market analysis, wood product trade and related policies, the impact of the global financial crisis on tropical wood markets, and consumers’ preference for tropical wood products. EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme presented EU FLEGT VPAs and a paper on ‘Emerging New Market Requirements on Trading of Legal Sourced Timber Products.’

 

2nd Sub-regional Timber Legality Assurance Training Workshop held in Malaysia

More than 50 participants and resource persons including government officials, members of civil society and the private sector, from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines participated in a regional training workshop from 25 – 27 October 2011 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The event was co-organized by the Sabah Forestry Department, EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Programme, and the ASEAN Secretariat. The workshop agenda covered presentations, a thematic group work and a field visit to promote exchange, dialogue and better understanding on Timber Legality Assurance Systems (TLAS). The workshop summary with links to presentations can be found on EFI EU FLEGT Facility Website.

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Photograph: Workshop participants. © FLEGT Asia.

 

Sustainable Forest Resource Management in Asia-Pacific

A Training Workshop on Sustainable Forest Resource Management, organised by APFNet, was held in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China from 17 – 28 October 2011. The workshop was designed to identify obstacles to enhance progress in rationalizing the policy and legal frameworks and building institutional capacity. It also addressed improving forest law enforcement by taking stock of the success and lessons learned from past and current initiatives. Dr Chen Xiaoqian, FLEGT facilitator to China of EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia, gave a presentation on "Market Incentives to Promote Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).”

 

Asia-Pacific FLEGT-REDD+ Seminar for EU Delegations and Member States

The EU Delegation to Malaysia and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Regional Programme organised a seminar for EU Delegations and European Member State representatives in the Asia-Pacific Region. Held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 16 – 18 November. 40 participants discussed ways to strengthen FLEGT and REDD+ cooperation between EU Delegations and EU Member State embassies in the region. They also discussed creating a better understanding of how to facilitate, manage and mobilise human resources and financial support to implement FLEGT and REDD+ initiatives, as well as ways to clarify roles and responsibilities of European Commission Headquarters, EU Delegations, EU Member States and the support role of the European Forest Institute's FLEGT and REDD Facilities.

 

High Level Forum on Legal Timber

A public Forum on Legal Timber was held in Kuala Lumpur on 17 November organised by the EU Delegation to Malaysia, the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia and EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme. Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia, H.E. Vincent Piket and high level representatives of the Embassies of Australia, Japan, Norway and the United States made presentations on the situation and demand for legal timber in their respective countries, followed by a discussion. Government representatives, including a number of Ambassadors from EU and Asian countries, the industry and media attended the event.

 

In a press interview following the event, Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia stated that “the VPA should be concluded well before 2013”.

 


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FLEGT and Demand-side Initiatives:

Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill introduced in Parliament

The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, introduced legislation in Parliament on behalf of the Australian Government on 23 November restricting the importation and sale of illegally logged timber in Australia. If all goes well, the new law should be in place next year (2012), with associated regulations coming into effect by 2014.

 

“Illegal logging is a major problem for many developing nations, causing forest degradation, loss of habitat and biodiversity, threatening sustainable livelihoods and contributing to global carbon emissions,” said Senator Joe Ludwig, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in a press interview.

 

The Bill and the Explanatory Memorandum, are available at the Australian Parliament House website www.aph.gov.au (under the “Bills” tab). The Government’s formal response to the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Committee inquiry will be posted shortly on www.daff.gov.au/illegallogging.

 

Perceptions on the EU Timber Regulation

“How many of you have heard of the EU Timber Regulation?” 10% raised their hands.
“How many of you understand the EU Timber Regulation?” No one raised their hand.
This was the opening of a panel discussion on the EU Timber Regulation (EU TR) at the October 2011 European Hardwood Convention. Organized by the American Hardwood Export Council, the audience was composed of hardwood importers and exporters. Since joining the EU FLEGT Facility in June, Ed Pepke, Senior Timber Trade Analyst, has attended meetings in North America, Europe, and Asia, speaking to timber sector representatives on the FLEGT Action Plan and the EU TR. In many of these meetings, there are requests for more information. But the situation is not completely negative. Some timber trade associations in Europe are well aware of the changing requirements, and are establishing due diligence systems for their members. Yet, even those associations worry that they may not have entirely protected themselves and their members from the exigencies of the impending legislation.

 


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FLEGT and Research:

Forest Governance Research Agenda – in support of FLEGT and linkages with REDD

Some 280 colleagues contributed to a first web-based stakeholder consultation that was held in April and May. This has helped to identify and prioritize research issues pertinent to FLEGT within the wider context of forest governance. Expert authors have used these inputs as the basis for a draft research agenda document which was distributed for review during October. We are grateful for the many valuable comments received that will help us taking final hurdles. The Agenda will help to streamline future research to support FLEGT work and is planned to be ready in early 2012.



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FLEGT-REDD Linkages:

4th Racewood meeting – Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

A session on REDD+ during the 4th Racewood meeting organised by ATIBT/IFIA, 29 – 30 September in Pointe Noire, demonstrated that REDD+ is still perceived as a theoretical concept. It has not materialised on the ground yet and concessionaires have difficulties to figure out what REDD+ can potentially mean for them. The meeting gathered some 400 participants from the Congo Basin countries, representatives from Ghana, Burundi and Rwanda, EU, France and the US, timber companies and forest concessionaires from the Congo Basin, who expressed their doubts during a plenary session entitled ‘Forest concessions of tomorrow’.


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Photograph: Meeting participants. © ATIBT.

 

Oslo Governance Forum

The Oslo Governance Forum took place on 03 – 05 October 2011, organised by the UNDP’s Democratic Governance Group. The Forum focused on participatory governance assessments and social accountability as means for strengthening democratic governance at the national and international level. The European Commission presented key lessons from the FLEGT VPA process and how it contributes to governance and legal and policy reforms. As this session of the Oslo Governance Forum focused on REDD+, the European Commission presented also on linkages between the FLEGT VPA and REDD+ processes.

 

REDD-FLEGT panel organised during the 4th meeting of the Participants Assembly of the FCPF – Berlin, 17 October 2011:

A panel on REDD and FLEGT during FCPF in Berlin in October, the Participants Committee of the FCPF instructed the Facility Management Team (FMT) of the FCPF to present a detailed proposal and budget estimate for analytical work, knowledge management, and centrally sourced activities on linkages between REDD+ and FLEGT by PC12. The panel was jointly organised by the World Bank, the European Commission, the EU REDD Facility and Proforest. Besides a presentation by the European Commission on FLEGT, representatives from the Republic of Congo and Ghana presented their views on the linkages between the REDD+ and FLEGT processes.

 

REDD+ Fact finding:

The EU REDD Facility undertook a first fact finding mission to the Republic of Indonesia from the 09 – 15 November. The mission contacted stakeholders and assessed the status of REDD+ in the country, with a particular focus on linkages between the ongoing FLEGT VPA and REDD+ processes.

 


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FLEGT Updates: Publications – Studies – Upcoming course:

Publications

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Forest Matters Magazine
Looking back at the 2011 International year of the forests, EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme launched in November “Forest Matters”, a one-time magazine dedicated to forests and forestry issues in Asia. Using the voices of people on the streets as well as timber traders, conservationists, forestry experts, community leaders and researchers across the region, it relays diverse points of view from Asia and beyond on the topic of forests and forestry-related issues.

 

Originally published in English, the magazine will be launched with language versions for Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

Studies

RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, with support from EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia programme, published a new study on Forest Peoples Tenure Rights. The study shows that improving the tenure rights of forest peoples reduces poverty and improves forest conditions.
The report was launched at the Asia-Pacific Forest Week held in Beijing, China from 07 – 11 November. A digital copy of the report can be downloaded here and more information can be found on RECOFTC’s website, www.recoftc.org.

 

Upcoming Course:

A 3rd "Improving Forest Governance" course will be organized 4 June – 13 July 2012 by the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) in Wolverhampton, UK. The course brings together participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America who are directly involved in forest governance, particularly issues related to VPAs and REDD. CIDT is able to offer a core number of sponsored places. Applications for the June 2012 course are now open. For further information about the application procedure and the course, please refer to the online brochure and the CIDT website.

 


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Updates from ACP- FLEGT Support Programme:

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The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme currently funds 48 projects in eight VPA countries to address components of the VPA implementation process. The following are recent activities that support the successful implementation of VPAs.

 

Central African Republic

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme provides financial support to two projects in Central African Republic (CAR) that aim at improving transparency and independent monitoring which are key elements of the successful implementation of the VPA. Through the first project, a Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) was set up in order to make available laws, legislations, judicial cases, etc. So far 1,270 texts are available to the public. It is worth noting that CAR is the first country that published the full report of the Plenary General debate on the voting of a Bill.

 

The second project with the Centre pour l’Information Environnementale et le Développement Durable was recently signed. The objective is to develop a strategy for independent monitoring through the participation of all stakeholders.

 

Côte d’Ivoire

The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme concluded a Letter of Agreement with the country’s ministry of water and forests, with the objective of organizing seven meetings on FLEGT issues at the national and decentralized level. Currently, four meetings have been organized to inform the administration, the private sector and civil society organizations on FLEGT. At the end of the project, it is expected that Côte d’Ivoire will decide whether to continue further with the FLEGT process.

 

Ghana

The participation of communities in the VPA process is an important aspect of its successful launch in Ghana. To this end, ACP-FLEGT has provided resources to the Resource Management Support Centre (RMSC) to assist in the testing of the Wood Tracking System in two pilot sites. This project has also worked to ensure that nine Community Resource Management Committees (CRMCs) and community leaders adjacent to the test sites are trained to participate in and monitor the implementation of the Wood Tracking System.

 

Liberia

Green Advocates in Liberia have recently launched a project to ensure greater information on the comprehensive forest sector reform process created through the signing of the 2006 reform law and the VPA in 2011. The project provides information to pilot communities about their rights regarding the forest sector, the benefits they should derive from forests and tests various ways to improve community monitoring legality of forest use by employing GPS technology. During a recent inauguration ceremony a logging company announced the amounts paid through the “Social Agreement” between the company and the community.

 

Please see the ACP FLEGT programme website at www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt 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)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/