Across Ghana, workers who cut down trees in forests, move timber from the forest to factories or process wood into finished goods can expect these and other improvements in the coming months. That’s because, as Ghana implements new systems for ensuring the legality of its timber and timber products, a spotlight is shining on worker safety like never before.
The Republic of the Congo and the European Union (EU) have taken stock of the implementation of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) aimed at promoting good forest governance. Both parties have also agreed on their work for 2019. The VPA is part of the EU initiative on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
Indonesian civil society groups that act as independent forest monitors have called for action to further improve the credibility and accountability of the country’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK), which Indonesia developed under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU.
Indonesia has been stepping up action against illegal logging and other forest crimes, with an increase in law enforcement operations and hundreds of court cases in the past three years. However, improving monitoring and law enforcement remains a challenging task.
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.
It’s hard to follow the law when the law doesn’t follow itself, and this has long been a challenge for the timber sector in Guyana. Inconsistencies in the legal framework there have made it difficult for businesses involved in harvesting and processing wood from Guyana’s forests to follow the law. It has also made it difficult for authorities to enforce it. But that all changed this year, when Guyana enacted much-needed reforms.
Two reports contribute to an undertaking by the European Union (EU) and the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic (PDR) to initiate joint assessments to provide a baseline for, and inform progress of, their process to negotiate a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT).