Under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, Indonesia issues export licences attesting to the legality of its timber shipments to non-EU markets. These “V-Legal Documents” build on the same procedures followed in issuing Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licences to the EU market. China does not however currently recognise V-Legal Documents as proof of legality for timber and timber products that it imports from Indonesia.
The 7th Regional Training Workshop on Timber Legality Assurance took place from 19 to 21 November 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Participants included representatives of nine member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan South Korea, the European Union, international organisations and the ASEAN Secretariat. They discussed their efforts to tackle illegal logging and its associated trade, and measures for trade in legal timber products.
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has published its latest briefing note on the implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), which covers the period September to November 2019.
On a cool grey day in Belgium last month, a group of visitors from Guyana gathered at Antwerp port and imagined a future in which their country’s timber products flow freely into the EU, bypassing red tape because every item has been verified to be legal.
Looking back into a past of chaos, corruption and crime, Indonesia has clearly come a long way in reforming its timber sector. During the 1990s and early 2000s, illegal logging was so widespread that more than 70-80 per cent of timber produced in Indonesia was sourced illegally.
How can trade policies promote and support governance reforms in developing countries so that forest resources contribute to sustainable development? A panel discussion on the FLEGT initiative hoped to provide an answer to this question. The session, moderated by Jussi Viitanen, Head of the EU FLEGT and REDD Facilities at the European Forest Institute, took place at the recent WTO Public Forum in Geneva.
Nongovernmental organisation Fern says the EU’s new free trade deal with Japan threatens global efforts to tackle illegal logging, including its own action plan. The deal, which was agreed in July 2018 and is in the processing of being ratified, is the world’s largest bilateral trade agreement.
According to an African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ The growing involvement of civil society in managing natural resources in the Central African Republic seems to indicate that the country is prepared to go far.