This month, Indonesia and the EU marked the second anniversary of a major milestone in their partnership against illegal logging — the launch of the world’s first ‘FLEGT’ licensing scheme, guaranteeing the legality of timber products exported to the EU.
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.
Global Witness says Vietnam’s recently-signed Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union can and must prevent the country from ‘becoming a new global timber laundering hub.’ Instead, the Agreement can ensure that Vietnam plays ‘a crucial role’ in protecting the world’s threatened rainforests.
The network of Vietnamese Non-governmental Organisations on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VNGO-FLEGT) has welcomed the official signing by Vietnam and the European Union (EU) of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
Our new investigation conclusively shows that tropical timber across the Solomon Islands is being harvested on an unsustainable scale, and that much of the activity driving this environmental destruction is at high risk of being illegal. If the growing degradation of the Solomon Islands’ tropical forests carries on unchecked, it will have a disastrous and irreparable impact on the country’s environment. The loss of this carbon sink would also have a significant impact on climate change.
The EU and Vietnam signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The agreement will help improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Vietnam to the EU, and other markets.
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.