The European Union and Laos held their first negotiations towards a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in legal timber products, when they met on 24-28 April in Vientiane.
The answer to stemming the flow of migrants from troubled countries is not concrete walls and stricter laws – as British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump would have us believe. There’s no silver bullet to this complex challenge, but a more promising solution is to help improve the economy and rule of law in the migrants’ home nations.
When civil society organisations in Indonesia began proposing ways to end illegal logging, they knew they had a mountain to climb. In 2002, some 80 percent of logging there was illegally. Corruption and conflict were widespread. Trust was lacking.
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.
The Danish Competent Authority last week required seven companies to make improvements to their due diligence systems if they are to sell teak imported from Myanmar on the EU market. The case raises questions about whether it is currently possible to place timber from Myanmar on the EU market while meeting the obligations of the EU Timber Regulation.
As the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states implement a new ten-year plan to improve forest governance, civil society organisations (CSOs) in region are keen to get involved.
Transitions from war are tough. When grievances smolder and economies fail to recover, most countries fall into a “conflict trap” and war resumes. To escape the trap, post-conflict governments often exploit forests, minerals, and other natural resources to jump-start war-torn economies.
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.