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.
As of today, November 15, Indonesia becomes the first country to issue licences under the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. These will exempt timber and wood products from further due diligence under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and European operator importers are expecting to receive their first licensed cargoes before the end of the year.
Indonesia and the EU launch are hailing “a major milestone” in the global fight to end illegal logging, with the launch today of Indonesia’s FLEGT licensing scheme for exports to the EU of verified legal timber products.
Finding solutions to underlying land-use governance challenges is essential to reduce deforestation driven by agricultural commodity production - that was the takeaway message from the EU side event on tropical forest governance on Tuesday, 8 November at COP22 in Marrakech.
Over 100 government, private sector and civil society representatives from China and African timber-exporting countries gathered in Beijing for the 3rd China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform.
Guyana needs to ensure that the transition from negotiating to implementing its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU is highly participatory and receives adequate technical, financial and political support.