Congo, EU guide their 2019 work on forest governance
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).
The Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) of the VPA between the Republic of the Congo and the EU met in Brazzaville on 21 and 22 November 2018. This ninth meeting of the JIC took stock of the progress made since its last meeting held in June 2018.
The JIC discussed the deployment of the Computerised Legality Assurance System (SIVL in French), a software for managing data related to the traceability and legality of wood products. The JIC adopted several recommendations regarding the SIVL. Among other things, it decided to create and operationalise the Interministerial Committee for the mobilisation of funds and the monitoring of the national deployment of the timber legality assurance system that verifies that wood products conform to national laws. It also recommended finalising the procedure for recognising private certification standards and mobilising funds for its implementation.
For forest management units that do not yet have a management plan, the parties resolved to engage private companies in developing such plans.
Both parties discussed the independent audit, an essential component of the timber legality assurance system established by the VPA. Its purpose is to review the timber legality assurance system, report on it and verify that its components operate in compliance with the VPA. Through the formulation of requests for corrective actions, the audit reports inform the JIC of discrepancies between the timber legality assurance system and the VPA requirements.
During the meeting, the JIC validated the audit reports of two sub-region and the audit programme for 2019. It also recommended resolving and completing one of the corrective action requests from one sub-region prior to the tenth meeting of the JIC, and developing an action plan to resolve the other corrective action requests.
Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy of Congo, said: “more than ever, the Government of the Republic of the Congo is committed to bringing the FLEGT/VPA process to fruition with its European partner.”
The two parties also reviewed the independent observer's 2014-2017 recommendations, the capacity building of stakeholders and the 2018 Joint Annual Report.
The JIC is made up of representatives of ten Congolese ministries, the EU, civil society and the private sector. It provides an opportunity for an inclusive and transparent dialogue between all stakeholders, in line with the approach adopted by the Congolese Government and the EU under the VPA.
Following the discussions between the technical experts on 21 November, the recommendations formulated were validated and formally adopted during the formal session on 22 November, co-chaired by Minister Matondo and Raul Mateus Paula, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of the Congo.
The tenth meeting of the JIC is scheduled to take place on 5-6 June 2019.
- Aide-mémoire including the decisions and recommendations of the JIC at its ninth meeting. [PDF in French]