The head of Tan Hoi village sits cross-legged on the floor describing the pressures his people face. “The older generation lacks education. The younger ones leave school as early as 11. Only one person has ever graduated from university as most people don’t have the resources to be able to afford it,” says Lê Văn Bức, a wiry, softly-spoken man in his 40s.
After playing a key role in implementing their country’s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU, Indonesian civil society groups are sharing experiences with counterparts in other countries engaged in the initiative.
By highlighting the decade of successes already achieved during the negotiation and implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements to end illegal logging, civil society from timber producing countries explain where EU policy should go next.
Representatives from eight member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) shared their achievements in developing reliable timber legality assurance systems at a workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia from 6-8 December 2016.
On 18 November, a significant milestone was reached in the fight to protect Vietnam’s forests. The EU and Vietnam agreed ‘in principle’ on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), establishing a legal framework promoting legal logging, ensuring that the nation’s forests are managed in line with social and environmental laws and that timber products from Vietnam are verifiably legal.
After nearly six years of negotiations, Vietnam and the European Union have agreed in principle on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Vietnam to the EU. Vietnam and the EU expect to ratify the agreement in 2017.