Congo, EU take stock of implementation of their forest governance Agreement
The Republic of Congo and the European Union (EU) have reviewed the implementation of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) aimed at promoting good forest governance. This Agreement 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 Congo and the EU met in Brazzaville on 7 and 8 June 2018. This eighth meeting of the JIC took stock of progress made since its last meeting held in December 2017.
The JIC discussed the deployment of the Computerised Legality Verification System (SIVL in French), a software for managing data related to the traceability and legality of wood products. With the support of the EU, Congo is the first country in the Congo Basin to be equipped with such a tool. The JIC adopted several recommendations related to the SIVL, including the decision to include measures to prepare forest companies for the use of the software in its deployment strategy. It also recommended strengthening the capacity of the public bodies in charge of the SIVL’s deployment.
Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy of Congo said that ‘this system will demonstrate that the logging of Congolese timber is carried out legally. We will now have all the information related to timber operations in our country.’
The two parties also reviewed the formalisation of the legality and traceability control procedures, including the manual for dealing with cases of non-compliance. The JIC noted that a revision of certain parts of the VPA is needed to be in line with changes in the forest legal framework.
On the Forest Law, the JIC adopted recommendations to strengthen stakeholder participation in improving the implementation of the Law.
The two sides also discussed capacity building of companies working in the forest sector, and the communication and information made public by the Directorate for Communication and Outreach of the Ministry of Forest Economy.
The JIC is made up of representatives of ten Congolese ministries, the EU, civil society and the private sector. It is an opportunity for an inclusive and transparent dialogue among 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 7 June, the recommendations formulated were validated and formally adopted during the formal session on 8 June, co-chaired by Minister Matondo and by Saskia de Lang, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Congo.
The ninth meeting of the JIC is scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 November 2018.
Aide-mémoire including the decisions and recommendations of the JIC at its eighth meeting.